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McGregor Recommends: Scapa Skiren

McGregor Recommends is a blog series of single malt whisky recommendations from James McGregor. James has owned The Royal McGregor for more than 15 years. He has a passion for single malt whisky and sharing his favourite malts with customers.

James has hosted whisky tastings at The Royal McGregor as well as various venues around Edinburgh for several years.

In February, we are continuing our monthly series where I review and recommend the best single malt whiskies on the market.

This month, I’m reviewing a classic single malt whisky from Orkney: Scapa Skiren.

The Scapa Distillery in Orkney.

The Scapa Distillery was opened in 1885 and was one of three distilleries on the Orkey Islands at the time, along with Highland Park and the now defunct Stromness Distillery.

The distillery was badly damaged by fire in 1919, but was rebuilt. It was also shut down for periods of time during WW1 and WW2.

However, the distillery survived, and Scapa is now known as an artisan creator of single malts.

The distillery only employs 5 artisans and a Master Distiller, and uses traditional distilling methods that have been handed down through the distillery for nearly 135 years.

The distillery is manually operated; one of the last to do so in the country, and it’s manned 24 hours a day


For an Island malt, the Scapa Skiren packs a surprisingly smooth and honeyed taste. It’s a unique taste for an Island malt, and one that makes it ideal for your segway into tasting malts from the region.

Let’s get tasting!

ABV: 40%

Appearance: The malt is a hue of copper gold.

Maturation: First fill American oak casks.

Nose: A hit of warm honey, fresh cream, crisp apple and pecans with a hint of Island smoke.

Palate: Here’s where Scapa comes into its own. You’re taken on a journey through ripe pears, honey and an oaky, citrus zest from the cask.

Finish: A unique Island finish that has a medium length and a wee bit of sweetness. You’ll notice the oak more here, too.

Special Mentions: Won gold at the Single Malt No Age Statement - 2017 International Spirits Challenge, and Gold at the Scotch Single Malt - Island - 2017 International Wine & Spirit Competition

RRP: £39.95

Why you should try it!

If you’re wanting to make the jump into peated malts but you’re hesitant, a malt like the Skiren is a gentle way to dip your toes into the peat pool.

Don’t expect every island malt to taste like the Skiren, though. It’s extremely unique in its character. A complex blend of honey, citrus, oak and peat that is a welcome addition to any home whisky collection.

Let me know, what single malt whisky would you like me to recommend next month?


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