Whisky Advocate

Review: Scapa, 19 yr. old, 1989 vintage, 52.7%

June 21st, 2009

Scapa, 19 year old, 1989 Vintage, 52.7%, $150

This single cask bottling of Scapa is a beauty! Brilliant gold color. Clean and fresh on the nose and palate, with complex bright fruit (peach, tangerine, Golden Delicious apple, honeydew melon, pineapple), spice (cinnamon, vanilla, subtle cocoa), appetizing brine, and beach pebbles, all on a bed of creamy, squeaky clean honeyed malt. Dynamic, appetizing, briny, dried spice finish. A delicious, superbly balanced whisky that makes a great aperitif, but I could drink this any time. (Bottled exclusively for D&M Aficionado’s Club.)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

7 Responses to “Review: Scapa, 19 yr. old, 1989 vintage, 52.7%”

  1. Neil Fusillo says:

    Sounds fun. Curious, as an aside, how you’d rate a comparison between, say, the D&M club vs. the SMWS for selections of whiskies. I know it’s a slightly different setup, with the D&M club being, essentially, a BMG-style offering for whisky. I’m just sort of wondering how they relate (I’ve no experience at all with the D&M club).

  2. John Hansell says:

    Hi Neil, this was my first review of D&M whiskies, so I would say that it’s still too early for me to form an opinion (or make a comparison), but I know that there are others reading this blog who are intimate with both and maybe they will chime in?

  3. [...] John Hansell loves the new 1989 vintage Scapa. [...]

  4. B.J. Reed says:

    Have one on the way to me now – Can’t wait to taste it – Their Benriach Moscatel is also very good – So much wine in the nose and sweetness on the taste and its cask strength!

  5. Harvey Fry says:

    ^PART ONE of TWO^

    BJ is talking about the D & M Aficionados’ Club Benriach cask 4491 Moscatel finish (MacKillop) 18/91-09, 57.5%. as it was
    their most recent (right after the Scapa
    John reviews above) selection, there’re still a buncha bottles available at $135 each &, if you join the club about $15 less. if you want some, please call Karen at 1-800-637-0292. mine’re still sitting in her office, but i know BJ knows of what he speaks cuz he’s been keeping up with the great revival of the distillery too. i can’t even scratch the surface of it here, but since the Walkers bought (from
    Chivas) & reopened the distillery a coupla
    of years ago, its distribution as a single
    has mushroomed^ &, for me, from the turn of the century to the present, the only event even remotely as important/wonderful (for our single malt universe) was the second coming of Mr. James McEwan & the reopening of Bruichladdich^ hey John,
    that might be a dynamite summer thread:
    since the millennium, what do you think of
    the new (Arran, Kilchoman) &/or reopened
    ( Benriach, Bladnoch, Bruichladdich & now,
    Glendronach) distilleries= give us your
    progress report. you could maybe include the existing distillery spin-off/add-ons
    like Hazelburn & now Kilkerran or Port
    Charlotte &, if you like, we could even go back a wee spell to Ardbeg, etc. probably, there’s enough here for seperate free for alls: new one time & reopened the other. whadda-ya-think?

    BTW, Preiss also brought in a Benriach OB cask 1029 Moscatel finish 31/77- ,54.9%. it’s much more expensive &, if you want
    one, you’ll have to special order it. ++,
    last December, the Aficinados’ offering was a great Benriach cask 4490 Gaja Barolo finish 17/91-08, 57.5% there may even be
    a few bottles of that left? if you’d
    rather do biz by computer, try Karen at
    karenmpolitz@yahoo.com. tell her Harvey
    sent you.

    punning on to ‘finish’ off the category, if you’re very alert, lucky & act fast, brett@binnys.com & 1-800-817-5898 may yet have a few bottles left of his outstanding
    Binnys’ hand picked Signatory bottlings of
    Benriach= both 12/94-06…cask 06/632/3, a
    Port finished gem at 59.5% & cask 06/431/1
    a Chateau D’Yquem Sauternes finished stud
    at 58.9%. Brett usually selects about the
    same number of new single malt expressions each year as do the Politz’s for the clubs.
    i’ve found his Binnys’ hand picked casks uniformly superior. please tell him how you came to Chicago, too.

    Neil F., i’ve been a member of both the 2
    D & M scotch clubs & our American branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society since
    before we made it clear to the cows they
    couldn’t come home until they began to pick
    up after themselves.

    amazingly, in that time, between the two, i’ve accumulated about 500 different expressions (Society over 400 & clubs just under 100) of their excellent, mostly cask strength bottlings^ the Society’s team buys 100s of casks each year for their many different national branches. they age & bottle everything in their own Scottish facilities &, for my money, their average
    overall quality is better than that of any other independent bottler out there^ since
    i’ve been at this, they’ve simply brought
    out so many incredible expressions & so few
    duds, i have to call them the best of the best by a right fair margin. +, you deal directly with them & the stuff comes to you by UPS, so it’s easy. maybe best of all for a cask strength maniac like me, everything is bottled unchillfiltered & at cask strength. my collection is living proof of what i say: having started with 2 or more copies of each expression offered, i still have at least one bottle, all of
    ‘em lined up on the shelves in numerical (instead of naming them, they give all of
    the distilleries numbers) order. IF you
    ARE interested in joining (or finding out more) call Bobbie, Lauren, Gabby or Beth at 1-800-990-1991. you can, of course,
    visit their website: smwsa.com don’t forget who sent you.

    D & M sources most of their offerings from
    independents like Lorne MacKillop, Gordon
    & Macphail or Duncan Taylor by way of the
    Preiss organization. they usually buy the
    whole cask & sell what doesn’t go to their
    club members to the general public. their
    selections are great value, especially if
    you join either one of the clubs. Brett
    does the same + he visits the distilleries
    & his tasting of cask samples is sometimes
    the beginning of a trail that leads to you!

    another great reason for buying through
    organizations like these is obviously that
    WHAT THEY OFFER ISN’T AVAILABLE ANY OTHER
    WAY. between them they’ll give you a shot
    at 60 to 75 unique single cask expressions you can’t buy anywhere else, each & every year. SO, the sooner you call &/or join, the more fun you’ll have!

    then again [WARNING] it’s a slippery slope
    that can lead to your spending a whole lot
    of your COIN on WHISKY &, if it’s true what
    they say= “WHISK(E)Y MAKES YOU FRISKY,” you
    might just end up IN whisk(e)heaven long
    before you get a peek at that other place
    somewhere ::::^UP^:::: there…. maybe not
    such a bad fate a’tall^+^+^+?

    at some point in the near future i hope to
    come back to this spot & give you my own review of both the Scapa 19 year old in
    question & it’s sister cask 17 year old,
    distilled on the same day in the same year,
    bottled by the same independent bottler &
    released through the same club. ya’ll come
    on back & visit us right here again soon^

  6. B.J. Reed says:

    You may think Harvey is blowing smoke but he has an unbelievable collection and knows of what he speaks – I also picked up the Benriach Gaja Barolo 1991 and its also well worth the purchase – I think D&M still has a few.

    Royal Mile has the Benriach Moscatel 1978 Cask 7186 for 119.96 pounds w/o VAT – I asked Stuart if he or anyone had tasted it but they hadn’t – Its 31 YO and I just wonder if the wine overwhelms the whisky at that age so I have not purchased one – If anyone has tasted it let me know because it might be worth investing in but the age for a Moscatel cask scares me a little.

  7. Harvey Fry says:

    BJ: thanks for the support. i have the
    Preiss import OB >1029 31yr Moscatel finish
    but won’t open it ’till th’younger >4491 18
    yr Moscatel finish arrives from D & M. if
    both of them turn out reasonably well, i’ll
    think about RMW’s. strangely, it’s listed
    at 50.% exactly, so i’ll have to make sure
    that is just a coincidence & not someone’s
    “strength of choice,” before i go for it^

    ANYONE WAITING FOR MY SCAPA REVIEWS: sorry,
    for the delay but several complications are
    making it take longer than i had hoped. if
    all goes well, i’ll be able to post some of
    what i’d like to report sometime next week.

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