Like the rest of the line, Magnus is partly peated and partly aged in “sherry seasoned” American oak casks. Before you ask, that just means they took regular old ex-bourbon casks and sloshed some sherry around in them for a few months. This is becoming pretty standard practice in the scotch whisky industry, since nobody drinks actual sherry these days and real sherry barrels are hard to come by. Some refill casks are also used, but the distillery says the sherry-seasoned casks are a “high percentage” of the vatting. If you say so, Edrington. …
Scapa is light in nature, but delivers surprisingly deep and complex variations on the theme. Not just vanilla, but rich, roasty vanilla. Not just taffy, but briny, homemade saltwater taffy. Not just a good sipping malt, but elegant and accomplished from nose to finish.
While it has a lovely lemony nose full of that Orkney peat, the bitterness on the tongue and the burned notes in the finish relegate this to the 30-dollar bin. Still, another sip covers up the sins of the previous, and it’s a sight better than drinking most blends.
This is a versatile chameleon of a dram – sometimes fruity and light, sometimes peaty and brooding. While it may not be able to decide what it is, there’s no denying the quality of the flavors and the smoothness on the tongue. I recommend a few drops of water, which really make this dram dance.