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Holyrood Distillery Launch Cask Programme for 2022

Holyrood Distillery has launched a unique cask programme which includes two distinct 'peated' expression

HOLYROOD DISTILLERY has launched a unique cask programme which includes two distinct ‘peated’ expressions, chosen to emulate the smoky past of Edinburgh’s cityscape. Both casks showcase the interplay between tradition and innovation, utilising different techniques of production to create two unique distillates; Heavily Peated and Rauch Malt.

Smoke once encapsulated Edinburgh, large clouds hung above the city and inhabitants woke to the smell, taste and the sight of smoke, as a result the city became known as ‘Auld Reekie’ (Old Smoky). Holyrood has a strong connection with this time in Edinburgh’s history; the distillery building once housed the old goods shed of the innocent railway, back in 1813 which transported coal that powered Edinburgh’s fires.

Through this year’s cask programme, Holyrood Distillery is keen to bring certain elements of Auld Reekie back to the whisky world with its use of smoked brewers malts and the traditional whisky style of Islay. The first of the two casks, Heavily Peated uses Islay peated malt in a sherry wood. Head Distiller, Marc Watson commented:

“Today, peated whiskies have a symbolic home — Islay. Among distillers and drinkers alike, Islay and its distilleries have reached legendary status. We aim to pay homage to Islay with a heavily peated expression that remains true to ourselves as distillers. Our goal is not to emulate the great distilleries of Islay, but to celebrate them. What would ‘made by Edinburgh’ be if it was instead made by Islay?”

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Holyrood distillers found using the Norwegian ale yeast, Kviek, alongside their malts gave a balance of smoke, orange, and a fuller texture to the expression. For maturation they’re using 250 litre Spanish sherry hogsheads, with a choice of either first fill Cream sherry or first fill Pedro Ximénez sherry.

The second cask in the 2022 programme, the Rauch Malt is a true brewer’s whisky, created with smoked brewer’s malt and aged in a lightly toasted port wood. Softening these smoky flavours, the addition of Caramalt has imparted a subtle sweetness to the distillate, finished with small amount of Heavy Peat (50ppm) to create the characteristic coal smoke flavours. For maturation, Holyrood is using 225 litre lightly toasted first fill port barriques.

“We continue to build upon traditional methods of production from brewing to innovate the Scotch Whisky industry. Our lightly peated expression for 2022 builds upon our previous New Make releases, utilising a rich catalogue of brewing malts and speciality yeasts. Our experimentation with smoked malts started a journey of exploration and refinement, culminating in a new way to create and experience lightly smoked whisky.”

At Holyrood Distillery the past inspires, but it never dictates, and their iterative approach means the team are persistently exploring, constantly learning and always building on the Scotch whisky legacy that has come before. Taking inspiration from the city that surrounds them, as well it’s rich brewing heritage; ancient recipes, malts, and fermentation ideas that time has left behind.

Purchasing one of these casks is a rare opportunity to be part of Holyrood’s Scotch journey as they carve out their identity as whisky makers, ahead of the inaugural single malt release later this year. Anyone who purchases a cask will receive a sample spirit on its first, third and tenth birthday.

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