A sensory journey at the new Holyrood Distillery

The Scottish Gin Society previously visited the Holyrood Distillery team when they were based in an old barber’s shop, overlooking the construction site of their brand new distillery and visitor centre.  We were excited to be invited back to experience the finished building – and what an experience it is!

This incredible B-listed building which was built in 1835 as part of the Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway (E&DR) has been completely transformed. 

Holyrood Distillery is Edinburgh’s first single malt distillery in nearly 100 years and is where the super talented team headed by Jack Mayo, distil their full spirits range of whisky, Holyrood Gin and Holyrood Gin liqueurs.

We were lucky enough to be the only ones on the tour, so at 11am on a Wednesday we were greeted by the lovely and knowledgeable Danny and got to experience what the Distillery calls: a ‘tour with a twist’.

The first room you visit is all about the senses, developed in partnership with the Aroma Academy. taste, smell and trigeminal (if you go on the tour, you’ll find out more about this one) are the three senses that, via the nose and mouth give the sensation of flavour. 

We are given a test to determine how well we can identify various smells. We didn’t get sulphur, which is surprising, but 5/6 isn’t bad!

The tour then takes you through the distillery and you get the first glimpse of the mighty copper stills for whisky production, this was a moment of great excitement as you know we love a good still!

Then, it’s onto the tasting room where Ginny Dean, the gin still, sits proudly in all her glory. The still is named after a fictional character of Sir Walter Scott (Jeanie Deans) who ‘lived across the road’ from the distillery, and you can see the carved stone on the tenement from the bar area at the end of the tour. 

There are four gins in the Holyrood Gin range, each with a complementary liqueur – Holyrood Dry, Holyrood Pink, Holyrood Auld Tam (their take on an Old Tom) and finally Holyrood Spiced.

This room is a botanical feast and although we didn’t want to leave, we move on to learn more about their whisky production where the team are using innovative techniques to create truly unique whisky.

The tour then takes you through the production process and the use of casks and their importance, before concluding in the bar which overlooks Salisbury Crags.

We highly recommend a visit if you’re in Edinburgh, it is a great way to spend an hour taking in the full experience, then you are at your leisure to spend time in the bar and onsite shop. Or, with Christmas coming up, the tour would make a great gift.

To find out more, visit holyrooddistillery.co.uk

Please drink responsibly.

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