Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Holyrood: the dawn of a singular voice in Scotch

 Holyrood is an exciting new name in the Scotch whisky industry. Mostly because they are already known for taking quite the different approach to making the stuff. Holyrood uses a variety of different yeast types and different mash bills. We also read more traditional names, like barley strains of Chevalier and the very famous Golden Promise. The latter used to be key to making The Macallan such a great malt whisky. Don’t know if they actually still use Golden Promise.

Anyway, this blog is about Holyrood, a geek’s dream, with an seemingly endless variety aiming to keep us on our toes. Does this also mean there won’t be ONE distinct Holyrood style? Only the future can tell, and we will be along for the ride.

Holyrood is located in Edinburgh and opened in 2019. The city is now home to two brand new distilleries, the other one being Bonnington (well, in Leith). Should we also count Port of Leith Distillery? Good to see the major urban locations of Scotland returning to distilling. Glasgow is well on its feet too. I visited Glasgow Distillery in Januari 2023, and a few months ago I stopped by The Clydeside Distillery. Today we will have my first ever tasting of Holyrood whisky.

Pictures taken by Angélique de Ridder

Holyrood Arrival, Release No. 01, bottled at 46,1 & abv

Makeup: No more and no less than 8188 bottles were produced, a batch from the following casks: Oloroso Butt, PX hogshead, Bourbon barrel and a Rum barrique. Bottled as Release No. 01.

General impressions: Very fresh with quite some nice fruity sherry notes taking the initiative. After some breathing time one cannot miss the influence of the rum. So, first red fruits and then a more sugary character. A little schizophrenic but also intriguing. Mouthfeel is very okay

The first sip starts of a bit dry and gives the impression of immaturity, but this is compensated by the finish which is much more luscious. The overall emerging taste is that of rum-soaked raisins. Not something I have anything against!

Conclusion: Holyrood released a rather fragile whisky with this Arrival. After a while in the glass it clearly disintegrates and then only youth remains. It struggles to keep alive, but that is no problem. Any enthusiast with patience will understand there is a ton of potential here. I do have some question marks to whether it was a smart move to mix such dominant casks together. It overpowers the spirit a bit, and still it comes off young. Why not embrace that youth, and let the spirit shine more unadulterated? Looking forward to next releases and products.

Score: 80 points

 Disclaimer: tasted from a single glass bought at the Offside Whiskybar – Berlin Wedding, DLD.

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