Rare whisky expert Angus MacRaild explores the Old Orkney bottling, a liquid artefact from the long lost Stromness distillery. O.O. Old Orkney by Angus MacRaild

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Stromness distillery operated for a century between 1828 and 1928 in its eponymous south east port on Mainland, Orkney. All these years later, and unlike many of its other contemporary distilleries which closed through Scotland in the 1920s, it is a name which still ignites thrills and intrigue amongst whisky enthusiasts.

This is primarily because it was commonly bottled in its ‘self’ single malt form during its operational lifetime, something notably scarce amongst Scotland’s malt distilleries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Add to this the fact it hails from such a far-flung and evocative northern isle as Orkney and it is easy to see why it holds such powerful sway over the shared whisky imagination.

Perhaps most tantalisingly of all is the fact that you can actually taste Stromness still to this day if you are fortunate enough to come across a bottle. The brand ‘Old Orkney’ - famously abbreviated to ‘O.O.’ - can still be found on very rare occasion. Indeed, a remarkably well-intact example bottled around the 1930s has surfaced as part of The Perfect Collection. Previous bottlings of O.O. have exhibited a stunningly pure, intense and profound peat character. A flavour of peat which is idiosyncratic to Orkney and which is only really shared with similarly old bottlings from Stromness’s neighbour Highland Park.

These are ancient examples of liquid history; a style of distilling and whisky making which is utterly extinct. Not only in the British isles but the world over. For lovers of single malt, Scotland, flavour and history, there are few names as thrilling, tempting and fascinating as Stromness.