First single malt whisky distillery in centre of Edinburgh for almost 100 years to officially open this month

The first single malt whisky distillery in the centre of Edinburgh for almost a century has announced that it will officially open this month.

Published 17th Jul 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The team behind Holyrood Distillery say the new venue will open to the public on the 30th July, with bookings for its tour experiences already being taken.

The daily guided distillery tours are now open to book via the distillery's website at with tickets for adults starting at £14.

The launch will be a historic occasion for the capital and the whisky industry as a whole, as there hasn’t been an operational single malt distillery in central Edinburgh since  The Edinburgh Distillery (aka Glen Sciennes) closed, almost 100 years ago, in 1925

The distillery, which will produce single malt whisky alongside a range of gins and gin liqueurs, has been built in a former railway goods shed dating back to 1831.

Located on the edge of Holyrood Park and close to popular Edinburgh Festival Fringe venues The Pleasance and George Square, the new distillery is within easy walking distance of the city’s main attractions, including The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Holyrood Distillery opening date
An artists impression of how the new visitor centre will look. Picture: contributed

It is also a short walk or bus ride from Waverley Station.

With its central location, visitor experiences and shop, the team behind the project say the aim is to offer a major visitor attraction for both tourists and locals.

The brainchild of Canadian Rob Carpenter, who, in 2013, first had the idea for a distillery and visitor experience in central Edinburgh, the distillery's Spirit production will be handled by distillery manager Jack Mayo, previously of The Glasgow Distillery, alongside distillers Ollie Salvesen and Elizabeth Machin. All three are graduates of Heriot-Watt University’s renowned Brewing and Distilling course.

Rob, who founded the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society together with his wife Kelly, has brought his vision to life in partnership with co-founder David Robertson, who has 25 years’ experience in the industry.

In total, the project has already created 30 new jobs for the local area.

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Holyrood Distillery’s founder Rob Carpenter said: “I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll open the doors to our distillery on Tuesday 30th July. It’s been an incredible journey to get to this point, and to be able to bring back single malt whisky back to the heart of Edinburgh for the first time in almost 100 years is a true privilege.

"A big thank you is also owed to our neighbours who have been patient with the build over the past year.”

Debs Newman, Holyrood’s Visitor Experience director, added: “Today is a big day for us as we open up our bookings for our range of tours. Offering great tours for our visitors is an integral part of the distillery design, and there are a range of tours available to visitors to suit all levels of interest, with even more variety to come in future.

“Given our location in the centre of Edinburgh, we’re within easy walking distance of the city’s major attractions so we’re ready to welcome everyone, from locals to tourists, to explore what we have created and the amazing world of flavour in both whisky and gin.”


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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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