The brainchild of Canadians Rob & Kelly Carpenter, and Scot David Robertson, Holyrood Distillery opened in Edinburgh July 30, 2019, on St. Leonard’s Lane, where the distillery building has been thoughtfully renovated 180-year-old. Bringing single malt distilling back to Edinburgh after almost 100 years, the distillery is housed in a former railway goods shed dating back to 1831.
Rob and Kelly Carpenter were also co-founders of the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (@SMWSCanada), and David Robertson is the former Macallan master distiller.
On our tasting, we sampled 3 new-make spirits from Holyrood. All at 63.5%, there was peaty, fruity and sweet profile:
Sweet profile new make spirit
80% Distillers malt, 20% Chocolate Malt. DY502 (malt whisky yeast), DY379 (grain whisky yeast), Nottingham ale yeast. Cut points were averaging 78-68%.
Nose: I get that ever so lovely berry sweetness on the nose, there’s also a nice touch of spice there too. Confectionary sugars and very slight tobacco. There’s also a feint nutiness which I’ve not experienced with new make before, adds a nice balance to the sweetness! Smells like a penny sweet shop to me, love it!
It’s light for the ABV, but every now and again, you get a ‘hit’ that reminds you of the strength. As the glass ages, the tobacco scent is starting to morph into sweet pipe tobacco smoke (was previously dry tobacco).
Palate: On the palate, it’s very approachable for a strong spirit. Chocolate butter, dark fruits and berries. Very nice and a great basis for a whisky! A tinge of leather and dusty smoking room too. Adds a nice dimension.
This is up there with the best new makes I’ve tried. Very nice in its own right and approachable.
Finish: The finish, for me, has a copper tinge to it, along with the berry sweetness, pipe smoke and chocolate.
Overall: Incredibly friendly or a strong spirit, especially new make. Lovely berries and tobacco, with slight spice and chocolate. Really good.
Fruity profile new make spirit
100% Distillers malt. DY502 (malt whiskey yeast), US-05 (ale yeast), Nottingham ale yeast. Cut points were averaging 79.5% – 69%.
Nose: So, the fruity profile on the nose: More of a funk to this one. Still got the berries, but not as sharp.
Not as spicy on the nose as the sweet. More balanced and mellow.
Palate: Quite herbal on the palate. The butteriness/chocolate is still there, but more subdued now. t’s all about the funk with the fruity profile! Berries, tobacco and metallic flavours on the palate, but funky!
Finish: Metallic flavours dissipate, leaving the seetness and sugars on the finish.
Overall: More herbal and funky than the Sweet profile. Slightly better balance and dfinitely more mellow.
Peaty profile new make spirit
Smoky – 100% peated malt (50ppm). DY502 (malt whisky yeast). Cut points were averaging 79% – 64%.
Nose: I don’t get any smokiness straight away, mostly lovely sweet sugared berries. As the glass sits, the peatiness comes through, subtle, but it’s there.
There’s a very earthy, natural aroma underpinning the sweetness and, now, peat.
It’s got a funk……
Palate: This one is the closest to what I’d expect for the ABV. White pepper, spearmint, icing sugar and a good tingle.
Less buttery than the first 2, this one is the least friendly, but that’s not a bad thing, it’s more of the one you advance to, after the others. This is the first one to warm the chest. Proper hip flask stuff!
Finish: The finish for me is sweet with mint. I really like this one too! 3 for 3!
Overall: This one was the closest to a strong raw spirit for me. I really enjoyed it and it will (as they all will) make great whiskey!
Thatwas a great tasting. Lovely spirit and really informative and interesting! Also a tease of something new coming from @HolyroodWhisky soon! Massive thanks to Elliot for being such a knowledgable guest and great company! #thewhiskeychaps— Whisk(e)y Chap 🏴🥃 (@whiskeychap) October 15, 2020