Whisky Tour – Scapa Distillery

You probably know the phrase “Timing is everything”. We all encounter situations and cases where the phrase is fitting like a glove to a hand. Although it’s not always a positive match, in my case and my wish to visit Scapa distillery, it was a perfect and positive match.

Back when I planned my Scotland trip and planned my Orkney day, I hoped that despite lacking a visitors center and a website that declared that the staff is too busy to take care of visitors, I’ll manage to arrange myself a wee tour at Scapa distillery. After all, being a whisky blogger should count toward something, right?

But just when I was about to finalize my plans for the trip, Scapa distillery announced a new visitors center and tours around the distillery, ha! Indeed, timing was perfect and it was an easy matter of contacting the distillery and booking a tour 🙂


So on a rainy and grey afternoon we strolled into the new Scapa visitors center. First thing you notice: It’s small. And cozy.

Pretty much the entire visitors center :)

Pretty much the entire visitors center 🙂

Not only it was small and cozy, it was clear that the tours is a new operation at the distillery. Our new and cute tour guide was still pretty much reciting explanations without lots of personal touch – since it’s the silent season at Scapa, our group was small and it was easy to detect it but nevertheless, it was clear and professional and I’m sure time and practice will help there.

As it was the silent season and very much near its end, the equipment was clean and shiny, almost buzzing in anticipation to get back to work.

Empty and clean mashtun at Scapa distillery

Empty and clean mashtun at Scapa distillery

Washbacks at Scapa distillery

Washbacks at Scapa distillery

Stills at Scapa

Stills at Scapa, Notice the Lomond still used as wash still

Then we stopped at the warehouse. As you can see in the picture below, it’s not a dunnage warehouse. In fact, there are no dunnage warehouses in Scapa, only racked warehouses containing 6 rows high of casks. As you can see, there are only ex-bourbon casks at the warehouses and the guide said they only fill ex-bourbon casks (although I don’t think it’s impossible that some ex-sherry casks with Scapa spirit exists somewhere).

One of Scapa warehouses

One of Scapa warehouses

Then we went back to the visitors center and had a dram of the Scapa 16 year old. I hoped to try Skiren but it was no show yet at the distillery. I already tasted and reviewed it here if you want to read my notes but I was delighted to tasted it again and find out it’s better than I remembered 🙂scapa table

Overall it was a nice wee tour and I hope they will expand it to include more in depth tours and casks tastings… 😉

Name: Scapa Distillery
Owners: Chivas Brothers
Location: Scapa, Orkney
Water source: Lingro Burn and local sources
Stills: 1 Wash still, 1 Spirit still
Capacity (yearly): 1,000,000 litres

Tour in a nutshell

Tours availability: See on their site
Cost of tour: £7.5
Length of tour: 45 minutes to an hour
Distillery Exclusive bottles: No, but Chivas CS series available.
Food: No.


3 thoughts on “Whisky Tour – Scapa Distillery

  1. Louis van Dompselaar

    Well, as you rightly guessed, there was at least one sherry butt in one of the warehouses. As our guide said “probably nicked from Highland Park”. They are selling bottles from that in the shop now (23yo cask strength!). They also have a much cheaper 12yo cask strength. So the distillery exclusives are available now.

    More things have changed since your visit. Prices have gone up to £10 and £20, with the latter including the 12yo and a new make in the tasting. As our your was in low season, it also included the 23yo sherry. The 16yo is gone so the cheaper tour now only includes the Skiren.

    As the Glansa has just been released, it will probably be included in the tours as well I guess.

    Oh, and the display case now includes the 16yo and Jutland release as ‘archive’.


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