Holyrood distillery New Make Spirit tasting evening

On the evening of Thursday the 15th of October 2020, we the embarked on an evening of tasting 3 HolyRood Whisky Distillery New make Spirits, with one of their Distillers, Elliot Rogerson. it was a cracking evening, and this is my summary.


Holyrood Sweet New Make Spirit, 63.5% ABV.

Barley and Yeast – 80% Distillers malt, 20% Chocolate Malt. DY502 (malt whisky yeast), DY379 (grain whisky yeast), Nottingham ale yeast. Cut points were averaging 78-68%.

Nose – we certainly have Icing sugar, loverly sweet strawberries, candied lemon slices, tinned peaches, and there’s a savoury meat note mixed with tobacco, it comes across as very very light smokey.

Palate – Yes, there’s definitely chocolate on the palate, there are raisins, it’s malty, and definitely nutty too, accompanied by some icing sugar sweetness. I’ve not tasted a New Make Spirit like this, very nice and very distinctive too.

Finish – It’s medium to long in length, lovely and warming, with black pepper spicy notes now too, and cigar leaves.

My thoughts – I/we haven’t tried a New Make Spirit like this before, the palate is so chocolatey and dark fruits, no wonder then that they are looking to sell it, it’s loverly stuff.


Holyrood Fruity New Make Spirit, 63.5% ABV.

Barley and Yeast – 100% Distillers malt. DY502 (malt whiskey yeast), US-05 (ale yeast), Nottingham ale yeast. Cut points were averaging 79.5% – 69%.

Nose – This nose is definitely more fruity, there’s pineapple rings, lemon slices, a slight plum note, and oranges, and there’s a slight savoury meat note, not as prominent as the sweet new make but it’s there.

Palate – This is also really good stuff, so fruity, tropical and stoned fruits, pineapple rings, mango slices, apricots and pears, and white pepper spices and white grapes.

Finish – This New make is medium to long again, it’s spicy, white pepper, stoned and tropical fruits, and it leaves a loverly icing sugar sweetness on the lips when drying.

My thoughts – This New make is much more Fruit forward with spices, but not red berry heavy that we usually get with fruity new makes, again it’s a very good spirit, and easy drinking at the ABV.


Holyrood Peated New Make Spirit, 63.5% ABV.

Barley and Yeast – 100% peated malt (50ppm). DY502(malt whisky yeast). Cut points were averaging 79% – 64%.

Nose – Ooh that’s nice, more peat smoke than ash, I usually get more ash, there’s raspberries, strawberries, frazzles bacon crisps, bbq meat and sauce, cherry lozenges, and it’s slightly medicinal, more Germoline than TCP, the fruit and smoke work so well together.

Palate – There’s lots of peat smoke mixed with red berries here, there’s also lemonade, icing sugar sweetness on the lips, frazzle crisps, bbq sauce, it’s a tiny bit drying, and I’d have said oak even though it’s not touched any wood 路‍♂️, and cashew nuts that Elliot mentioned was a great call, I’ve not had that flavour before in tasting new make spirit or whisk(e)y.

Finish – I’m amazed at the amount of fruit they’ve got in this peated new make, it’s a 50/50 split for me with the smoke, it’s really nice.

My thoughts – Again, this is a super New make spirit, there’s lots of fruit, lots of peat smoke, lots of bbq notes, and it’s all so well balanced.


Well we thoroughly enjoyed the evening, all 3 New make spirits were super, but the Sweet just pipped it for me, it’s so unusual as New makes go, absolutely delightful, and as Elliot said during the evening, there are plans to sell it, which I’m sure many will enjoy.

There are currently 4 different styles of whisky available from the distillery, Sweet, Fruity, Spicy and Peaty, and they are very reasonably priced, they can be found here, https://www.holyrooddistillery.co.uk/shop/category/whisky/https://www.holyrooddistillery.co.uk/shop/category/whisky/, Gins and Gin Liquors are also available in their shop.

They also have a rather interesting cask program that can be found here, where a brochure can be ordered https://www.holyrooddistillery.co.uk/cask-owners/https://www.holyrooddistillery.co.uk/cask-owners/.

I’d like to thank Steven Blyth, communication and digital whizz are the distillery for helping to get this tasting going and for sending out the samples we tasted.

Thanks to Elliot Rogerson, one of the distillers, for giving us all the Barley and Yeast strains information for all three New make spirits, and for joining us, it’s always fantastic to be able to ask questions of them, and he certainly did a grand job.

Thanks to @kaskwhisky (Twitter) for sending me a sample of the peated new make that inspired this whole tasting.

And thanks to anyone who followed along, and especially @WhiskynStuff for his questions.

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