Holyrood Distillery to reopen for whisky and gin tours - and launches rare cask auction

Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery in almost 100 years, is to relaunch their tours with a new Gin and Whisky Experience - and whisky fans can also bid on a rare casks.

Published 2nd Jun 2021
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

The Holyrood Distillery tours start from the 3 June, and will allow visitors to taste their new make spirit for the first time.

The distillery has also partnered with Whisky Auctioneer to offer three “extra special” whisky casks up for charity auction.

Visitors to the distillery will be able will explore it in small groups (initially a maximum of six people on each tour), learning how the gin and whisky is made and gain an insight into the blend of tradition and innovation used by the distilling team.

The tour will take in both the gin and whisky distilleries, plus there’s the chance to enjoy a guided tasting of Holyrood gin or a flight of whisky new make spirit, before heading home with an own branded Glencairn glass.

By law, whisky must be matured in the cask for a minimum of three years.

The new make spirit comes directly from the whisky still - before the cask maturation process - and tasting it at this stage gives a fascinating insight into the flavours imparted through distillation.

The rare opportunity to taste the spirit allows visitors a chance to experience something that will go onto become some of the first whisky to be produced in Edinburgh for 100 years.

Tours last 60 minutes, but visitors should allow at least 30 minutes extra to enjoy their tasting flight in the distillery bar afterwards.

Cost from £25 per person and can be booked online.

Holyrood Distillery’s brand home manager, Debs Newman said: “This really is a special opportunity to taste history in the making. With capacity for the groups being limited, these tours will not only be very safe, but allow for a truly personal experience.

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" We just can’t wait to welcome people to our home again, and for them to be part of our story in unleashing Edinburgh’s whisky potential.”

Further gin and whisky tours and tastings will resume at Holyrood Distillery over the summer.

For those looking to buy into a piece of the distillery's history, there's currently an auction taking place which features three Holyrood Distillery casks.

Matured in ex-bourbon barrels, this is an excellent opportunity for whisky enthusiasts to get their hands on three rare casks as they are completely distinctive from Holyrood Distillery’s current ‘Made by Edinburgh’ cask programme, which is offered exclusively in a selection of sherry casks.

The casks will be auctioned by Whisky Auctioneer with the auction running from Friday 28 May until Monday 7 June online.

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All proceeds from the sale of the casks will be split between Edinburgh charities Vintage Vibes, tackling social isolation in the community; Edinburgh Food Project, a local food bank charity; and The Drinks Trust’s covid relief fund for the hospitality industry.

Whisky Auctioneer has agreed to waive selling fees and will donate the 10 per cent buyer's commission to the total hammer price raised for the three charities.

Each 200 litre cask will be filled with ‘Made by Edinburgh’ new make spirit, at an ABV of 60% and matured in a first-fill American ex-bourbon barrel.

As the public ‘Made by Edinburgh’ cask offering comes exclusively in a selection of sherry casks, the ex-bourbon maturation makes the charity auction casks a sought-after collectable.

Having been distilled using single-origin barley from a Lothian-based farm and a proportion of crystal and chocolate malt, the casks offer full traceability from field to barrel.

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A proprietary mash bill containing roasted and specialty grains and single estate Lothian farm barley, fermented with the iconic “Edinburgh Ale yeast” combine to create an entirely new spirit style.

Commenting on the charity cask auction, David Robertson, co-founder of Holyrood Distillery said: “As Edinburgh’s first single malt distillery in nearly a century, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Edinburgh’s amazing whisky heritage.

"We’ve created a spirit that echoes what would have been done 100 years ago; using locally sourced barley and beer yeast from an Edinburgh brewery, filled into three extra special ex-bourbon casks.

“It was essential for us that we supported local Edinburgh charities, our whisky is made by local people and inspired by the city we’re in, so it was paramount to ensure that communities close to the heart of our distillery are supported during this time.”

Joe Wilson, head of auction content at Whisky Auctioneer added: "It's a privilege to partner with Holyrood Distillery to bring these casks to auction in order to support some incredible charitable organisations.

"The sale presents the very unique opportunity for our global customer base to acquire a piece of liquid history from this trailblazing Edinburgh distillery, whilst giving back to the local community."

"Holyrood is a vibrant new distillery that will produce Edinburgh's first malt whisky for nearly 100 years, so we are sure that this auction will inspire a huge amount of interest around the globe."

During lockdown, Holyrood announced its ‘Made by Edinburgh’ cask programme; an opportunity for members of the public to purchase a piece of Edinburgh’s distilling future.

To find out more about the auction, visit the Whisky Auctioneer website.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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