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Holyrood reveals its first single malt

Edinburgh’s Holyrood Distillery has unveiled its inaugural single malt Scotch whisky, Arrival, but has ruled out plans to launch a core range.

Holyrood inaugural whisky
Holyrood’s first whisky will be limited to 8,188 bottles

Founded in July 2019, Holyrood Distillery is located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. The distillery has produced new make spirit, alongside the Height of Arrows gin brand, Rum Union and Elizabeth Yard rum.

Holyrood’s debut whisky release was matured in oloroso Sherry butts, Pedro Ximénez hogsheads, Bourbon barrels and rum barriques.

It uses traditional Scotch pot still malt and distilling yeast.

Each future release will evolve from this recipe by using heritage and speciality malts, alongside a range of yeasts not typically used within Scotch whisky production.

Holyrood is working with Heriot-Watt University to find out whether old species of barley could produce new whiskies.

Bottled at 46.1% ABV, Arrival is limited to 8,188 bottles.

Holyrood currently has no plans to create a flagship whisky or range, and will instead focus on “semi-regular releases”, according to Calum Rae, distillery manager.

The distillery will release a peated whisky as its second expression next year, with the hope of a larger allocation of bottles.

Inaugural release

Arrival is one of the first single malts to be produced in Edinburgh in 100 years. John Crabbie & Co was the first with its Chain Pier Single Malt release in February 2022.

Holyrood laid down barrels in 2019, which were used for the new release, alongside barrels from 2020.

Rae selected the whisky as its inaugural release to “reflect the first stage of all Holyrood recipe development, while showcasing the incredible and complex flavours which can be achieved by Holyrood at any age”.

The aroma offers tropical fruit, raisins, a hint of butterscotch, freshly baked cake, sticky toffee pudding, soft leather and biscuit.

The palate brings flavours of toffee, caramel, vanilla, digestive biscuits, ginger spice, butterscotch and raisins.

It follows on the finish with sweet spice, apple pie and red fruit.

Arrival will be released tomorrow (6 October), priced at RRP £67 (US$81).

It will be available to buy from the Holyrood Distillery shop and website and in specialist retailers such as Royal Mile Whiskies, The Whisky Shop, Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange.

The name of the whisky was inspired by the distillery’s location in a former railway terminus, with the label of the bottle replicating an old train ticket.

Rob Carpenter, founder of Holyrood Distillery, added: “Our bottle avoids whisky cliché and leans into something a little more local, putting the Holyrood hourglass front and centre.

“The distinctive beer bottle silhouette and brown glass also pay tribute to a once-bustling glassworks located not too far from our distillery.”

The first Arrival bottle will be sold during The Distillers One of One auction in October.

Edinburgh also welcomed a new single malt whisky distillery this month, with the opening of Port of Leith’s £12 million (US$14.5m) site.

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