Scapa distillery

Islands Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Once boasting the longest fermentation time in the industry at 120 hours, although the introduction of a seven-day distilling week has reduced this to up to 70 hours, Scapa's fruitiness remains prominent in the wash, and is further refined by distillation in a Lomond-style still. These stills were designed in the late 1950s in an attempt to create multiple different flavours from a single pot. The barrel-like necks contained moveable copper baffle plates which could be manipulated to create different levels of reflux. Today the plates have been removed, but the amount of copper in the necks is still massive. A purifier pipe increases reflux even further, and adds its usual oiliness. The result is one of the juiciest new makes in Scotland, a character that is enhanced by maturation in American oak and refill casks.  

  • Region
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status
  • Brands produced here

Scapa History

By the end of the 19th century there were three distilleries operational on Orkney: Highland Park, Stromness (both of which dated from the early part of the century) and, from 1885, Scapa. Any distillery built at this time was free to try and exploit the growing interest in blends. Scapa was no different. Indeed, it was built by a blender, Glasgow’s John Townsend. It was damaged by fire in 1919, but rebuilt. In 1936 it was bought by Bloch Bros. [see Glen Scotia, Glengyle] who ran it for close on two decades before selling up to Hiram Walker which through mergers ended up as Allied Distillers. In 1959 a Lomond still was installed which ran as intended until 1979.

Production ceased in 1994 with occasional runs being done by the crew from Highland Park. In 2004, however it was released as single malt and a major refurbishment of the distillery began. In 2005 it became part of the Pernod Ricard stable and the refurbishment was completed. The new owners redesigned the packaging of the single malt and upped the age from 14 years to 16.

In 2015 a visitor’s centre was opened and the introduction of a new, extended range was announced.


  • 1885 Scapa distillery is opened in Orkney by Macfarlane & Townsend
  • 1919 The distillery is sold to the Scapa Distillery Co, but is damaged by fire in the same year
  • 1934 Scapa Distilling Co. goes into liquidation and distilling ceases at the site
  • 1936 Production resumes following the buy out by Bloch Brothers
  • 1954 The business is sold to Canadian group Hiram Walker
  • 1959 Hiram Walker rebuilds the distillery and installs a Lomond still
  • 1987 Allied Lyons (later Allied Domecq) purchases Hiram Walker
  • 1979 The Lomond still is decommissioned
  • 1994 Scapa distillery is mothballed, although occasional runs are completed by the nearby Highland Park team
  • 2004 A £2.1 million refurbishment project takes place; Scapa 14 Year Old is launched
  • 2005 Refurbishment complete, Scapa becomes part of Pernod Ricard's portfolio after the group purchases Allied Domecq
  • 2015 The distillery opens its first visitors' centre in April

Scapa Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
  • Grist Weight (t) i
  • Heat Source i
    Diesel fuelled steam boiler
  • Malt Specification i
  • Malt Supplier i
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Semi Lauter
  • New-make Strength i
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Straight Ogee
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
  • Stills i
    2 (1 wash, 1 spirit)
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
  • Wash Still Shape i
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
  • Washback Charge (l) i
  • Washback Size (l) i
  • Washback Type i
  • Washbacks i
  • Water Source i
    Lingro Burn
  • Wort Clarity i
  • Yeast Type i
    Anchor dried


Parent company

Current owner

Previous owners

  • Allied Domecq 1994 - 2005
  • Allied Lyons 1987 - 1994
  • Hiram Walker & Sons 1954 - 1987
  • Bloch Brothers 1936 - 1954
  • Scapa Distillery Co 1919 - 1934
  • Macfarlane & Townsend 1885 - 1919


Scapa Distillery
KW15 1SE
United Kingdom
Visit Website
+44 1856 876585
Visitor Opening Hours
9.30am to 5pm
9.30am to 5pm
9.30am to 5pm
9.30am to 5pm
9.30am to 5pm
9.30am to 5pm (summer)
9.30am to 5pm (summer)


See also

  • Aberlour Aberlour Aberlour Distillery & brand


    Part of Chivas Brothers' portfolio, Aberlour is best known for its cult expression, A'Bunadh.

  • Braeval Braeval Braeval Distillery & brand


    The joint highest Scottish distillery.

  • Glen Keith Glen Keith Glen Keith Distillery & brand

    Glen Keith

    Experimental site with a fruity whisky.

  • Glenallachie Glenallachie Glenallachie Distillery & brand


    Delicate and fruity filling for blends.

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