Holyrood Distillery Unveils New Scotch Cask Program


June 13, 2022

Holyrood Distillery cask program

This year, Holyrood Distillery has launched a unique cask program 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, utilizing 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 program, 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 Peateduses Islay peated malt in a sherry wood.

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-liter 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 flavors, 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.  

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.