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Scotch Single Malt Whisky Library / The Collection > H

June 2017
Holyrood distillery has embarked upon a £5.5m funding drive in its efforts to bring single malt distilling back to Edinburgh for the first time in 90 years.

Johnston Carmichael is leading the firm’s fundraising efforts, with the money set to go towards renovating the city’s 180-year-old Engine Shed building in St Leonard’s Lane into an 11,969 sq ft distillery and visitor centre.

The distillery is the brainchild of ex-Macallan master distiller David Robertson and Rob and Kelly Carpenter, who founded the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS).

Holyrood was granted planning permission by the City of Edinburgh Council last year, with distilling forecast to begin in late 2018. The distillery will concentrate on producing a range of single malt whiskies, liqueurs and other spirits, and anticipates the first bottles of Holyrood whisky will be available to purchase by 2021.

The visitor centre, Holyrood’s ‘Home of Flavour’, will offer guests an immersive sensory and educational experience of the distillery when it opens next year, and will include a tasting room, and a wood and maturation room.  

Rob Carpenter, managing director of Holyrood distillery, said: ‘Kelly, David and I all love our spirits and we’re incredibly enthusiastic about making flavour-filled single malts, gins and other cool tipples, as well as creating an experience which allows our visitors to truly immerse themselves in the world of Holyrood.

‘We are confident that by placing a working distillery in the heart of Edinburgh’s capital, with the visitor numbers and cash flow that is expected to provide, we are creating something that is quite different from the typical distillery start-up.

July 2017
Edinburgh’s Holyrood Distillery has named Glasgow Distillery’s Jack Mayo as its master distiller – one of a number of new appointments at the company.

Holyrood distillery team
David Robertson, Bill Farrar, Jack Mayo, Rob Carpenter, Laura Anderson and Hamish Martin

Also joining the project is whisky veteran Bill Farrar, who becomes Holyrood’s sales and marketing director after 30 years in the drinks sector, most recently as managing director, super-premium, at Edrington.

Prior to that, Farrar was Edrington’s group sales and marketing director, with responsibility for single malts Macallan and Highland Park, plus blends The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark.

Mayo spent three years at Glasgow Distillery, with Holyrood highlighting his ‘innovative approach to experimenting with flavour combinations’.

Holyrood also named Laura Anderson as director of finance, another ex-Edrington executive with lengthy experience in a number of roles at the company – most recently as head, super-premium strategy development.

Meanwhile, Hamish Martin, owner of Edinburgh’s Secret Herb Garden and co-founder of wine merchant Inverarity Vaults, will provide advice in his role as a botanicals expert.

Holyrood managing director Rob Carpenter said he was ‘thrilled’ with the appointments, adding: ‘Everyone involved brings with them their own unique talents and, importantly, years of experience working at the very top of the whisky industry.’

The appointments come after Holyrood’s recent launch of a £5.5m funding drive to help create its distillery and visitor centre.

Holyrood is a joint development from ex-Macallan master distiller David Robertson and Rob and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS).

When it starts production – scheduled for late 2018 – Holyrood will become Edinburgh’s first working malt whisky distillery since Glen Sciennes closed in the 1920s.

It will produce single malt whisky, gin, liqueurs and other spirits.

April 2018
Construction on Edinburgh’s first new malt distillery for almost 100 years is due to commence next month after its owners secured an additional £5.8m in funding.

Holyrood distillery expects to attract visitors from around the world
The new funding for the Holyrood distillery and visitor centre, situated in the historic Engine Shed on St Leonard’s Lane, comes from 60 private investors from around the world, as well as £1.5m from the Scottish Investment Bank.

The additional funds, raised by investment firm Johnston Carmichael, will be used to transform the 180-year-old building into a malt whisky distillery, with an interactive visitor centre at its heart.

Rob Carpenter, co-founder of Holyrood distillery, said: ‘We can now move on to the fun part – building our new distillery and visitor centre and making delicious spirits.’

Construction will begin on the site in May, with doors opening to the public in spring 2019.

Carpenter added: ‘We want our customers to be our guides, helping us shape and build the spirits and flavours that they most enjoy.

‘It’s a new collaborative approach to spirit production that we are all truly excited about and one which we believe offers something quite different from other distilleries.’

The distillery is the brainchild of Rob and Kelly Carpenter, co-founders of SMWS Canada, and former Macallan master distiller David Robertson.

It will become the first to produce single malt whisky in the city of Edinburgh since Glen Sciennes closed in 1925.

Holyrood will also produce a range of gins, liqueurs and other spirits.

The site is one of three new malt whisky distilleries planned for the city, joining the Port of Leith project and a return for John Crabbie & Co to Edinburgh.

May 2019
Holyrood distillery in Edinburgh is making 100 of its first casks available to the public to buy, while allowing them to customise the flavour of their whisky.

Cask buyers will take part in a ‘flavour consultation’ with head distiller Jack Mayo and co-founder David Robertson, which will determine how long the barley is roasted for, which yeast will be used during fermentation, the ‘distillation approach’ and the type of cask used to mature the whisky.

Robertson said: ‘Normally, if you invest in buying a cask of whisky from a distillery, you are limited to perhaps a choice of one or two cask types, but we’re flipping things on their head and giving buyers the chance to design the flavour.

‘By working with me and Jack, they can have a hand in each step of the whisky’s journey and be in control of shaping how the whisky tastes.’

Limited to only 100 casks, the distillery is offering three sizes – a barrel (200 litres) priced at £4,500, a hogshead (250 litres) priced at £5,500 and a butt (500 litres) at £10,500.

All production, bottling and storage costs for up to 10 years are included in the price.

Holyrood is one of a trio of new or under-construction malt whisky distilleries in the city, including ‘vertical distillery’ project Port of Leith and the return of the John Crabbie & Co whisky brand to Edinburgh.

Capacity: 250.000 Ltrs
Holyrood distillery is set to open its doors to the public from July.

September 2019
Newly operational Edinburgh whisky distillery Holyrood has launched a club allowing members to monitor the single malt’s flavour development over the next five years.

Holyrood distillery dog Laika, manager Jack Mayo, co-founder David Robertson
Holyrood team: (L-R) Distillery dog Laika, manager Jack Mayo and co-founder David Robertson
Holyrood’s Flavour Explorers scheme offers two tiers of membership, limited to 750 people each, allowing members to sample the distillery’s spirit as it matures, as well as other benefits.

Holyrood opened on 30 July this year, making it the first single malt distillery in the centre of Edinburgh since Andrew Usher’s Edinburgh distillery (also known as Glen Sciennes) shut in 1925.

The Holyrood tier of the Flavour Explorers club costs £249 and allows members to choose one of the distillery’s four core flavour profiles – sweet, fruity/floral, spicy or smoky – to try.

On joining, members are given two 5cl miniatures of their chosen new-make spirit style, to be followed by two more 5cl samples on each of the first, second, third and fourth anniversaries of their membership.

On the fifth anniversary, they receive a 70cl bottle of Holyrood single malt, giving them a total of 10 miniatures and one full bottle over the course of their membership, as well as a 10% discount on anything distilled at Holyrood and two free distillery tours per year.

The Edinburgh tier costs £899 and allows members to sample each of the distillery’s four core flavour profiles, including four 5cl samples of new-make on joining, then four more 5cl samples on each of the first, second and third anniversaries of joining.

They receive four 70cl bottles of four- and five-year-old single malt on the fourth and fifth anniversaries respectively of their membership, giving them a total of 16 miniatures and eight 70cl bottles, plus a 15% discount on purchases and four free distillery tours.

‘Single malt hasn’t been distilled in the heart of Edinburgh for almost a century, so the Flavour Explorers club is a unique proposition,’ said Jack Mayo, Holyrood distillery manager.

‘Not only do members get the chance to taste our spirit each year as it matures and follow the flavour as it develops, they also get the chance to own a piece of history.’

Holyrood distillery, built at a cost of £6.7m, was established by Rob and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and David Robertson, who previously worked at Macallan and Dalmore.

Made by Edinburgh
We are continually discovering more heritage barley varieties that were once part of Edinburgh’s rich brewing heritage and giving them a new purpose:

Plumage Archer
Golden Promise
Maris Otter
By introducing speciality malts into the distilling process we impart new and unique flavours to our spirits, with nearly all of them still used in brewing today:

Chocolate Malt
Crystal Malt (150:light/ 240: Medium/ 400:Dark)
Brown Malt
Vienna Malt
Black Malt
Biscuit Malt
Light and Dark Munich Malt
Amber Malt
Rauch malt (Beechwood smoked)
Just like our choice of malts, yeast strains offer another avenue of flavour creation. To date, we have used brewer’s, distiller’s, wine and even sake yeast strains:

Pinnacle M/MG+
Edinburgh Ale Yeast (EAY)
Kviek Ale (Sigmund)
Brux (like) Trois
Fresh Nottingham Ale yeast
N379 (Belgian)
Tetley 70
Sherry flor
BP725 (Bordeaux)
MaurivinPDM (Champagne)
MaurivinB (Burgundy)
Mirtillo Rosso
Bollicine champagne
tropical sym wine yeast
rose wine yeast
passion fruit wine yeast
apple/pear wine yeast
Grand zin
BC10 Bayanus
le more yeast
Pinnacle S (Rum)
Black Death Yeast
Heff 4
Our New Make is the embodiment of our iterative approach to whisky; our tests, our learnings and our improvements. Rather than simply explain what we do, our New Make offers drinkers the opportunity to experience our whisky thinking first hand: how we use different components and how they affect the character of our spirits, all before any cask influence. Our New Make is the first stage of a longer whisky journey that begins with our choice of ingredients and ends when our Scotch Whisky leaves its cask.


Arrival embodies our story so far as whisky makers and marks the beginning of a journey of progression, innovation and experimentation.

For our team, past and present, Arrival is a celebration of our collective achievement as we reach this first stop on Holyrood’s mission to create exciting whisky, and to share this moment with the city we call home.

More details about Arrival will be available on our website and social channels throughout the coming weeks.

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