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The bay of Scapa Flow lies with the Orkney Mainland to the North and South Ronaldsay and Hoy to the East and West respectively. The bay is of considerable historic significance, having been a naval base for the British fleet during both World Wars. During the First World War, the Grand Fleet employed the bay as their Northern base and during the Second World War a German U-Boat entered the bay and subsequently sank the HMS Royal Oak.

The Scapa whisky distillery had been distilling since long before, having been founded by Macfarlane and Townsend in 1885. The little huddle of buildings lies just outside of Kirkwall at Scapa Bay, and the distillery draws its waters from the Lingro Burn. Scapa distillery is decidedly small with a total capacity of one million litres annually, though the distillery runs at roughly one third of this with a staff of just three, working three days weekly. Hiram Walker acquired the distillery in 1954 and installed a Lomond still a few years later to replace the wash still. The Lomond still is a comparatively recent innovation and produces a heavier, oilier spirit.

During the 1970s, Scapa was renovated and modernized. Malt whisky from Scapa has long since been used as a blending component and it is notably used in Ballantines blends. Despite this, single malt whisky from the distillery is highly prized and under its new owners, Chivas Brothers, Scapa is being marketed as a premium product. The distillery was mothballed in 1994 and did not reopen until a decade later, though during its closure staff from nearby Highland Park ran the distillery for a few months. Just before reopening in 2004 there were extensive renovations and as much as £2.1 million was spent. In 2005, production slowed whilst more refurbishments were carried out with Chivas Brothers at the helm.

Scapa Whisky Distillery

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About Scapa Whisky Distillery

Distillery Number

01856 876585

Distillery Capacity

1 000 000 litres

Distillery Founded


Distillery Status


Distillery Owner

Chivas Brothers

Distillery Address

Kirkwall, Orkney

Distillery Website


Macfarlane & Townsend founds the distillery with John Townsend at the helm.


Scapa Distillery Company Ltd takes over.


Scapa Distillery Company goes into voluntary liquidation and production ceases.


Bloch Brothers Ltd (John and Sir Maurice) takes over.


Hiram Walker & Sons takes over.


A Lomond still is installed.


The distillery is modernized.


The distillery is mothballed.


Production takes place a few months each year using staff from Highland Park.


Extensive refurbishing takes place, the


Production ceases in April and phase two of the refurbishment programme starts. Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) become new owners through the acquisition of Allied Domecq.


Scapa 1992 (14 years) is launched.

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Scapa Skiren
(70cl, 40%)
A 2015 addition to the Scapa range, the Skiren is a handsomely honey'd single malt Scotch whisky which has been distilled in the Scotch whisky industry's only remaining working Lomond Still! It was...  More info
Single cask whisky from the Orkney distillery of Scapa! Aged for 22 years, this floral and coastal malt bottled by Mackillop's is a real treat.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
Scapa 25 Year Old
(70cl, 54%)
Part of a limited release of 2,000 bottles of Scapa, distilled in 1980 and aged for 25 years before bottling at cask strength.  More info
Scapa 16 Year Old
(70cl, 40%)
This 16 year old from Orkney's Scapa was relaunched in 2008.  More info
User Rating:  (30 Reviews)
Bottled in 2013, this lovely Scapa from Gordon & MacPhail's Distillery Label range was distilled in 2001.  More info
User Rating:  (4 Reviews)
Cask strength Scapa single malt from the turn of the century. This whisky from the isle of Orkney was distilled in February 2000 and left to mature for 14 years before being bottled by Chivas in...  More info
A 2000 vintage distilled at Scapa on Orkney, This was bottled by Gordon and MacPhail in 2011.  More info
A release of 333 bottles distilled in October 1993 and aged for 17 years before bottling in February 2011 by Douglas Laing for their Old Malt Cask range. A refill hogshead-matured Scapa…  More info
A half bottle of 11 year old, refill sherry matured Scapa, distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2004.  More info
Distilled at Scapa in 1993 and aged in refill sherry casks for 11 years before bottling in 2004.  More info
This was distilled at the Scapa distillery in October 1993 and it was aged for 14 years in refill hogshead number 4440 before bottling in June 2008 by Douglas Laing for the Old Malt Cask range. There...  More info
A 14 year old from one of Orkney's brace of distilleries (the other being Highland Park). This was distilled at Scapa in October 1993 and aged for 14 years in refill hogshead number 3888 before...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
Scapa distilled in October of 1993 and bottled in June of 2009 after 15 years spent in a refill hogshead. This was bottled for Douglas Laing's Old Malt cask range, and is a release of 307 bottles.  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
A cask strength, straight from the cask bottling of Scapa. This was distilled in 1993 and bottled by Chivas Brothers in 2009.  More info
User Rating:  (3 Reviews)
A single cask from Orkney. This was distilled at Scapa in October 1993 and matured for 16 years in a refill hogshead before bottling January 2010 by Douglas Laing. An outturn of 314 bottles.  More info
A cask strength bottling from the Scapa, distilled in 1992 and aged for 14 years.  More info

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