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Holyrood Distillery launches cask programme

Edinburgh-based Holyrood Distillery has launched its new cask programme for 2022, inspired by the Scottish capital’s ‘smoky past’.

The casks will be matured for 10 years

The distillery has been inspired by Edinburgh’s nickname ‘Auld Reekie’ for the curation of this year’s cask programme. The nickname translates to mean ‘Old Smoky’ and stems from the smoky clouds that used to hang over the city.

Holyrood Distillery was keen to bring elements of ‘Auld Reekie’ to the whisky world by using smoked brewers malts and the traditional whisky production style of Islay.

The brand has sought to showcase the interplay between tradition and innovation by utilising different techniques of production to create two unique distillates for the programme; Heavily Peated and Lightly Peated.

The Heavily Peated bottling uses Islay peated malt in a Sherry wood.

Head distiller Marc Watson commented: “Today, peated whiskies have a symbolic home — Islay. Among distillers and drinkers alike, Islay and its distilleries have reached legendary status. We aim to pay homage to Islay with a heavily peated expression that remains true to ourselves as distillers. Our goal is not to emulate the great distilleries of Islay, but to celebrate them. What would ‘made by Edinburgh’ be if it was instead made by Islay?”

The distillery has used Norwegian ale yeast, Kviek, alongside its own malts to give the liquid a balance of smoke and orange.

It is using 250-litre Spanish sherry hogsheads, with a choice of either first fill cream Sherry or first fill PX Sherry.

The Lightly Peated is a brewer’s inspired whisky, created with heavy peated malt as well as rauch malt, a German malt smoked over beechwood. Holyrood then uses the subtle sweetness of Caramalt to balance the characteristic coal smoke flavours of the distillate.

For maturation, it is using 225-litre lightly toasted first fill Port barriques.

“We use the beech smoked malt to invoke memories of Auld Reekie and ancient Edinburgh, but also to maintain consistency of our lightly peated malt whilst reducing the amount of peated malt we use,” says Watson. “The dominant note is light peat smoke, however the beech smoked and amber malts create complexity in the spirit that is nostalgic of Old Edinburgh’s smoky character.”

All of the casks in the programme will be aged for 10 years. Buyers will receive a sample of their spirit after one, three and 10 years of ageing.

The Peated Cask is priced at £5,000 (US$6,064) while the Lightly Peated is priced at £3,500 (US$4,244). Insurance is included in cask price and covers damage or loss due to fire, explosion, flooding or other cause.

The distillery plans to release its inaugural single malt later this year.

In April the distillery launched two white spirits, called Charmed Circle, as part of a new category of ‘strong waters’.

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