Scapa Orcadian single malt Scotch whisky logo

Scapa Distillery

  • Scotland, UK
  • 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2005 Beverage Testing Institute: Scored 85 out of 100.
Phone Number
  • Kirkwall KW15 1SD, UK

Sunset at snowy distillery with warm lighting

History of Scapa Distillery

Scapa Distillery, situated on the Orkney Islands in Scotland, is a renowned producer of Scotch whisky. This distillery, with its unique location, has a rich history and is known for its distinctive style of whisky production.

Founding and Early History

Scapa Distillery was founded in 1885 by John T. Townsend and Macfarlane. Located near Scapa Flow, a natural harbour in the Orkney Islands, the distillery has a long-standing connection with the maritime heritage of the region. The early years were marked by typical challenges of remote distilleries, including transportation and resource procurement.

Distillery Characteristics and Whisky Production

The distillery is known for its traditional methods of whisky production. Scapa is one of the few distilleries that still employs a Lomond wash still, although it has been modified to function similarly to a traditional pot still. This distinctive approach contributes to the unique character of Scapa whiskies.

Modern Developments and Ownership

Throughout its history, Scapa Distillery has undergone various periods of closure and renovation, reflecting the fluctuating fortunes of the whisky industry. The distillery is currently owned by Pernod Ricard, through its subsidiary, Chivas Brothers. This change in ownership has led to modernization in the production facilities while maintaining the traditional essence of Scapa’s whisky-making process.

Scapa Distillery, with its distinctive location, traditional production methods, and range of high-quality whiskies, continues to be an important player in the Scotch whisky industry. Its commitment to preserving traditional techniques while embracing modernity and sustainability makes it a unique and respected distillery in Scotland.

Awards Won by Scapa Distillery

  • Awards for the 14-Year Expression:
    • 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition: Gold Medal.
    • 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition: Double Gold Medal.
  • Ratings:
    • 2005 Beverage Testing Institute: Scored 85 out of 100.

Scapa Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Scapa Distillery offers a unique tour experience for visitors interested in whisky making. Located in an exceptional setting overlooking Scapa Flow, the distillery provides guided tours that delve into the intricacies of whisky production.

Distillery Tours and Tastings

  • Distillery Tour (£25): Available in January and February, this tour takes visitors through the entire whisky-making process, from milling to maturation. It’s a comprehensive insight into the workings of Scapa Distillery.
  • Scapa Meets Speyside (£50): Also available in January and February, this experience includes a guided tasting of four whiskies from Scapa and its sister distilleries, offering a comparison of different whisky profiles.
  • The Winter Orcadian (£100): This premium tour, available on Fridays and Saturdays in January and February, provides an extensive exploration of the distillery, including a visit to one of the warehouses. It also delves into the distillery’s history and production process.

Visitor Centre and Shop

While the distillery’s shop is currently undergoing renovations, their visitor centre remains open, and they continue to offer their experiences. The visitor centre provides an opportunity to choose from a range of special edition whiskies, even though the shop itself is temporarily closed.

Safety and Accessibility

Scapa Distillery places great emphasis on safety and accessibility. Measures include temperature checks, collection of contact details, and physical distancing guidelines in the shop. The use of face masks is also required for indoor areas. The facility is equipped with accessible parking and toilets, ensuring a comfortable visit for all guests.

Booking and Contact Information

For the latest information on tours, availability, and bookings, it’s recommended to visit Scapa Distillery’s official website. Interested visitors can also contact the distillery directly for any enquiries and further details about their offerings.

These experiences offer a comprehensive look into the world of whisky making at one of Scotland’s renowned distilleries, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Orkney Islands.

Flask & Barrel Review of Scapa Distillery

As a whisky collector who has experienced numerous distillery tours, my visit to Scapa Distillery was a delightful and memorable experience, deserving a solid 4.7 out of 5 rating.

Located in the picturesque Orkney Islands, the setting of Scapa Distillery is nothing short of stunning. Overlooking Scapa Flow, the distillery blends beautifully into the rugged landscape, offering a serene backdrop that sets the tone for a unique whisky experience.

The tour itself was a blend of traditional charm and informative insights. I found the guide knowledgeable and engaging, adept at explaining the finer details of the whisky-making process. It was particularly fascinating to learn about Scapa’s traditional methods and how they contribute to the unique flavour profile of their whiskies.

The highlight for me was the tasting session. As a collector, I’ve tasted a wide range of whiskies, but Scapa’s offerings were distinctively smooth, with a notable honeyed sweetness that set them apart. The Winter Orcadian tour provided an excellent opportunity to delve deeper into the distillery’s history and sample some exceptional whiskies.

While the visitor centre was under renovation during my visit, the staff made every effort to ensure the experience remained top-notch. The only reason I’m not going full 5 out of 5 is due to this minor inconvenience, but it’s understandable and didn’t significantly detract from the overall experience.

In terms of safety and accessibility, the distillery’s efforts were commendable. The implementation of COVID-19 safety measures provided peace of mind, and the accessible facilities ensured a comfortable experience for all visitors.

What To Do Nearby Scapa Distillery

Tomb of Maeshowe: About 16 miles from Scapa Distillery, the Tomb of Maeshowe is an ancient Neolithic tomb, known for its Viking graffiti and alignment with the winter solstice sun.

Standing Stones of Stenness: Approximately 15 miles away, these are among the oldest stone circles in the UK, featuring tall stones reaching up to 5 meters.

Rings of Brodgar: Located roughly 17 miles from the distillery, this is a large Neolithic stone circle and henge, originally consisting of 60 stones, of which 27 remain standing.

Ness of Brodgar: Also about 17 miles away, this is an archaeological site with ongoing excavations revealing fascinating Neolithic discoveries.

Yesnaby Coastal Walk: Situated around 20 miles from Scapa, this coastal walk offers stunning views of sea stacks, ruins, and birdlife.

Stromness: Only about 17 miles away, Stromness is a charming town with a rich maritime history, hosting various festivals and serving as a ferry terminal.

Ness Battery: Located approximately 17 miles from Scapa, this site played a significant role in both World Wars, offering tours that highlight its history.

Highland Park Distillery: Just 2 miles away, this is another renowned Orkney distillery, offering tours and tastings of their distinguished single malt whisky.

Scapa Flow: A major British naval base in both World Wars, Scapa Flow, just a short drive away, is now a famous wreck diving site with a rich maritime history.

Italian Chapel: About 9 miles from Scapa, this chapel was built by Italian POWs during World War II, featuring impressive artwork made from limited materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Scapa Distillery?

Lucano: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. For more information, their contact number is +441856875687 and address is 31 Victoria St, Kirkwall KW15 1DN, United Kingdom.

Helgi’s: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For more information, you can contact them at +441856879293 and address is 14 Harbour St, Kirkwall KW15 1LE, United Kingdom.

Twenty One: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. You can visit them at 8 Laing St, Kirkwall KW15 1NW, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Scapa Distillery?

Kirkwall Hotel: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. For more information, you can contact them at +441856872232 and their address is Harbour St, Kirkwall KW15 1LE, United Kingdom.

Ayre Hotel & Apartments: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For more information, you cna contact them at +441856873001 and their address is Ayre Rd, Kirkwall KW15 1QX, United Kingdom.

Albert Hotel: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. For more information, you can contact them at +441856876000 and their address is 7 Mounthoolie Pl, Kirkwall KW15 1JZ, United Kingdom.