Working in Orkney for a week, the conversation turns to whisky. My colleague tells me I should visit the Highland Park distillery. She say’s it’s well worth a trip. Another colleague tells me Highland Park is good, but Scapa’s better, causing a debate to rage where for some reason everyone seems to agree: Highland Park is good, but Scapa’s better.
In the evening a go for a walk to Scapa Bay and look out across Scapa Flow. At the end of the beach is a green stream swamped with huge quantities of algae. An old chap is laughing at a Fulmar (or Mallimack as he calls it – an “Evil Mouth” because they vomit rancid fish oil at anyone who approaches) which was desperately trying to mate with a female but got so carried away he fell off and bounced down the shallow cliff. He chuckled and chuckled. He tells me he worked for the Scapa Distillery for years and that the stream is green because it’s warm because it cools the stills. He says that sometimes it even smells of whisky.
Back in Kirkwall I buy two bottles of whisky; a bottle of Highland Park and a bottle of Scapa. They’ll be a reminder of this wonderful place when I get home.
Back home in Devon I open up the whisky bottles. It’s time for a taste and I get two decent glasses and pour a finger of Highland Park. It’s good, in fact it’s very good
But Scapa’s better.
Highland Park 12 yr is described by Michael Jackson on www.whiskymag.com as
“Exceptionally smooth. Succulent, with smoky dryness, heathery-honey sweetness and maltiness.” He says Scapa is: “Smooth. Chocolate, vanilla, nuts. Very lively and appetising.”