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Drink It How You Like It

The Gordon and MacPhail bottling of Scapa. Mrs Cake tells me that this one was recommended to Father Christmas by the people at the Reserve wine shop in West Didsbury, and you should be able to pick it up for around £35.

Gordon and MacPhail are merchants, and the way that works, is that merchants buy quantities of new make whisky direct from the distillery, then it can be aged either at the distillery, or by the merchant, in their own barrels. Presumably the merchant then decides how long it is aged for, and in what kind of barrels. I’m unclear at this point, as to whether they then blend different barrels of the spirit to achieve the desired effect, or whether all the contents come from the same barrel. It probably depends. Lots to learn.

So this particular bottle is from Orkney’s Scapa distillery. It was distilled in 2001, and bottled in 2012, so that could potentially have been aged for between 11 and 12 years, depending on exact dates (I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an 11 year old whisky…). How strictly do they stick to dates? Do they age for exactly 12 years, or do they just go with roughly 12 years? They probably blend from a variety to get it tasting right. The rule, after all, is that the age statement has to correspond with the youngest whisky that was used, so some will be 12 years and 2 months, some maybe even a year or more older than the statement. When the bottle states ‘distilled in 2001, bottled in 2012’ though, you can be sure there’s going to be nothing older in it.

Scapa is a er… pale yellowy colour, but it’s presented quite nicely. The fancy box it comes in has two gaping holes in it, so that you can see the labels on the front and back of the bottle. That’s all very well, but I presume that cancels out the practical considerations of a whisky box, which are to protect it from sunlight, should you not have room in your cupboard. I don’t think it’s important anyway. Supposedly if you leave whisky in direct sunlight it can turn cloudy, though this effect isn’t irreversible. It probably doesn’t matter if it’s chill filtered, and I suspect that since this is bottled at 43% ABV, it probably is chill filtered. It would probably say if it wasn’t, since that’s considered a good thing among enthusiasts.

(Tasting Notes taken from


Rather light & Fruity, Green apples and pears, Honeydew, Vanilla toffee. Developing hints of Cold coal smoke in the back.


Creamy and sweet, Tropical fruits followed by grapefruits, then some chilli pepper kicks in, a trace of ash.


Long and creamy, spicy, mangoes and cigar ash

Overall a pleasent drop to sip, a mix of sweetness and fruitiness with chilli spiciness.

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