Holyrood Distillery release Arrival - the first whisky from the Edinburgh distillery

Published 5th Oct 2023
Updated 10 th Oct 2023

Created in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, Holyrood Distillery's Arrival is distilled in a refurbished ‘engine shed’ (once part of the terminus of the Innocent Railway).

It is one of the first single malt whiskies produced in Edinburgh in a century. Founded in 2019, Holyrood Distillery is striving to do something different in whisky by utilising expertise in brewing.

The distillery’s first release uses traditional Scotch pot still malt and distilling yeast, but each future release will be unique and will evolve from this recipe by layering in heritage and speciality malts, alongside a range of yeasts not typically used within scotch whisky production.

Distillery manager Calum Rae explained that because Edinburgh has a long history of brewing, but not so much with whisky, Holyrood has become a bridge between the two worlds.

Also, because they’re a small business, the production team are not constrained by yield and instead can be led by flavour.

Calum said: “We’re lucky to work with a wide array of speciality malts that you’d normally use in brewing - things like chocolate malt and crystal malt - things that normally build lovely stouts and red ales in the beer world.

"We are really charging forward with bringing that over into the spirit side of things. Alongside the beer malts, we’ve done a lot of work with heritage malts.

"We’re big whisky geeks, and love to look at heritage and history of whisky making for inspiration, so the chance for us to look at speciality malt and also malts that fell out of favour in whisky making has been amazing.

"We’ve also looked at different types of yeast - from wine and champagne to saki and rum - in order to be led by flavour.

"Luckily, as a production team we don’t have to worry too much about maximising yield so much as maximising flavour. That was really the founding principle of Holyrood.”

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Distillery manager Calum Rae

Of the release of Arrival Rob Carpenter, founder of  Holyrood Distillery, said: “This year Edinburgh has been well and truly placed back on the whisky-making-map and we’re incredibly proud to be part of this revolution.

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

Of the name, Calum said: “Arrival can be construed as getting to the finish line but we see it as we’ve arrived at the start of the race.

"We’re just stepping out in the world. It’s also an emotional release as Holyrood started production in 2019 and was hit incredibly hard by Covid and the challenges that came with that.

"It’s a real celebration that we’ve made it to this point.”

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The first bottle of Arrival was sold as part of the Distiller’s One of One charity auction which is in aid of The Youth Action Fund.

Those looking to get their hands on ‘Arrival’ will have to be quick - with just 8,188 bottles produced.

The whisky will be available in the Holyrood Distillery shop, on their website and in specialist retailers such as Royal Mile Whiskies, The Whisky Shop, Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange. RRP is £67

Holyrood Distillery Courtyard, Saint Leonard's Lane, Edinburgh, UK
Holyrood Distillery Courtyard, Saint Leonard's Lane, Edinburgh, UK, EH8 9SH
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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