Scapa turns 16December 4th, 2008
First a 12 year old, then a 14 year old, Scapa is now being released as a 16 year old. A gap in production has forced its owners to release increasingly older stocks of whisky while its young stocks continue to mature.
A whisky producer has a few options when dealing with gaps in production like this. Chivas Brothers, the owners of Scapa, have chosen the most honest and direct route (which I applaud): increase the age statement.
They could have just been bottling Scapa as a 12 year old all these years. People don’t like change, and changing the age statement (and packaging) involves a certain degree of risk on Chivas’ part. That’s why Ardbeg 17 year old remained being sold as a 17 year old even after the actual age of the whisky inside the bottle was well into its 20s. A whisky producer is allowed to put a younger age statement on the label, just not an older age statement. (This practice also occurs in the American whiskey industry, by the way.)
Another option that Scapa will have in the future is to combine young Scapa with old Scapa, take the age statement off of the product, and give it a name instead. (Hey, we could have a contest on what to call it! Any suggestions?) This is occurring a lot in the industry now too.
According to a write-up in Talking Retail, Scapa 16 yr. old is being released this month in several markets (UK, US, France, Scandinavia, and Travel Retail) for about $100.