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Holyrood Distillery introduces ‘strong waters’ to UK

Edinburgh-based Holyrood Distillery has launched two white spirits, called Charmed Circle, as part of a new category of ‘strong waters’.

Charmed Circle
The two new ‘strong waters’ are the result of Holyrood’s experimentation with heritage barleys

The two new varieties are the debut releases of a new category of spirit created by the distillery, which Holyrood has categorised as ‘strong waters’.

The name is an archaic reference to any alcoholic liquids that were not being set aside as aqua vitae. It is also a reference to a collection of wells situated around Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

Known as the ‘Charmed Circle’, this cluster of wells supplied the city’s former brewing community with some of the wells and water aquifer still in use underneath the distillery today.

The new spirits are the result of Holyrood’s experimentation with heritage barleys and its progressive approach to spirit making.

Rather than focussing on the barley’s efficiency, as is most commonly the case, the brand has focussed on flavour to produce these two spirits in an attempt to highlight barley as a key flavour component in white spirit making.

For these two inaugural strong waters, managing director Nick Ravenhall and distillery and operations manager Marc Watson examined the properties and potential of two heritage barley varieties: Golden Promise and Chevalier. The team soon discovered the powerful flavours, textures and aromas they could produce.

The Golden Promise, which offers tasting notes of lemon blossom with citrus on the nose, is a classic British spring barley variety that was the dominant variety in Scotland during the 1970s. Chevalier also dominated the English brewing crop for around 60 years, and offers ‘a rich mouth-coating’ with notes of churned cream and butter.

With aims to bring these barleys back to their former glory, Holyrood distilled them both as part of its signature single malt new make before blending them with 85% neutral grain spirit. This has helped to intensify the flavours of the barleys, while also developing their ‘richness and mouthfeel’.

The labelling on the Charmed Circle bottles was designed by The Touch Agency and uses 100% recyclable paper, which utilises waste from brewing, such as barley hops, to create a sustainable label.

It is recommended that these liquids be enjoyed neat and in longer mixed drinks.

Available now, Charmed Circle’s RRP is £34.99 (US$44.48).

The Spirits Business has previously explored how different brands use raw materials in their spirit making in a quest for sustainability.

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