September 2015 will see the release of the latest offering from Scapa, Skiren. The marketing spiel is that it’s an artisanal single malt forged by the elements of Orkney. It’s been created by five dedicated artisans at the manually operated Scapa distillery.
Using a unique barrel shaped Lomond wash still, the only remaining working Lomond in the Scotch whisky industry, results in a fruitier honeyed spirit. Exclusively matured in First Fill American Oak casks gives Skiren creamy yet fruit notes.
Enough about what they think though and more about what I think.
A sharp citrus burst of lemon is unmistakable, followed with a gentle tinned pineapple syrup and cantaloupe melon. There’s a floral note, honeysuckles and marigolds. There are ripe pears and soft sweet red apples. There’s buttery soft drop pancakes drizzled with honey and a silky nuttiness of almonds. Giving this a dessert note, reminiscent of a good frangipane tart with a generous amount of vanilla cream.
There is young green wood, giving an initial bitterness, this quickly makes way for the pineapple, pears and ripe melon from the nose. The vanilla creaminess is still present with cocoa butter and toffee sauce. The lemon from the nose is tempered, it’s gentle and sweeter, lemon butter cream springs to mind. The floral notes have all but disappeared, and there is a little bit of spice lurking in the background, not quite as hot as peppercorns, but warming like a generous pinch of cinnamon.
Surprising long, this is quite a light whisky, the sweetness of the melon and the pineapple lingers and at the very tail end there is a burst of fragrant rose which brings to mind Turkish delight, the real article not the mass marketed version.
Light and floral, one that will work particularly well for summer I think. There is some richness imparted by the vanilla cream and a hint of bitterness from the cask. This isn’t a whisky that I would reach for personally. I would say the ABV needs to be slightly higher but I think in doing that they would lose the delicate flavours and the alcohol would dominate. It’s RRP is $60 (approx. £40) so it’s not expensive and I’m sure that there will be a market out there for it. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s not a memorable dram for me and not one I’d return to.
With thanks for the official sample.