Scapa is a small distillery (1 million litres/year at full capacity), situated in the Orkney archipelago near Highland Park. The nearby Scapa Flow is a stretch of water between the North Sea and the Atlantic ocean, and is famous as the final resting place of the German naval fleet, scuppered by their crews at the end of the First World War.
The distillery was founded in 1885 and is now owned by Pernod Ricard's Chivas group, who acquired it in 2005 following their purchase of previous owners Allied Domecq, who had spent £2 million on an extensive refurbishment the previous year. This saw the beginning of a new era of production at the distillery, which since 1997 had been run for only a few months of the year by Highland Park staff. The standard expression of Scapa under Allied was a 12 year-old, however as stocks ran low and refurbishment loomed this bottlingwas discontinued and replaced by a 14 year-old. In 2008, Scapa was relaunched once again, this time by Pernod, as a 16 year-old.
Scapa was fitted with a Lomond still in the 1950s by then-owners Hiram Walker, but this is now used as a normal wash still with the rectifying plates removed. Most of the output from the distillery goes to the Ballantine's blend, but the launch of the 16yo in fancy packaging gives hope that this under-sung malt will receive more attention and support from the new owners.