Scotland's Orkney Isles were once the last stopping point for sailors traversing the old trading route from England to America. Now their coastal waters are littered with sunken vessels—eleven German boats from the first World War and a British warship from the second. For the past seven years, the northern Scottish islands have been home to only one full-time working distillery, Highland Park.
But there has been a rebirth of sorts within the windswept inlets. Allied Domecq decided to bring back the other, dormant distillery in the isles, Scapa. Closed since 1997, save for some short production bursts using former workers subsequently employed elsewhere, the distillery now has a new life—a modern visitor center will open in 2006 and, more important, a brand new expression of the whisky, aged fourteen years, is currently available. If you've come across Scapa before, then it probably has been a twelveyear-old. You'll certainly remember its engaging complexity and drinkability. The Scapa Fourteen-Year-Old ($46) has just sailed stateside, with all of the eminent taste profiles that the distillery is known for—sweet melon, honey, cocoa and malt. It demands a distinguished malt drinker's attention. Visit your local retailer for a bottle.