Whisky enthusiasts can now fulfil a dream of creating their very own single malt whisky from scratch – providing they have a cool £4,500 for a barrel.
The £5.8 million Holyrood Distillery, which is due to open in July at the site of the former Engine Shed building on St Leonard’s Lane, will be releasing 100 casks which will be available to buy through a special programme.
Single malt connoisseurs will be able to create the flavour of their own whisky through the Holyrood Cask Programme.
Holyrood’s experts – Head Distiller, Dr Jack Mayo, and co-founder David Robertson, whose long-running career in the industry has included a spell as Master Distiller at The Macallan, will conduct a special “flavour consultation” with customers.
The discussion will determine the buyer’s particular flavour preferences and then allow the buyer to tailor each stage of the process.
They will choose how long the barley is dried and roasted, which yeasts are used for fermentation, the distillation approach and distillation date and the type of cask for maturation, including its oak species, size and previous fill. The distillery is focusing on four core flavours – smoky, spicy, sweet and fruity/floral – with cask purchasers able to tailor their choices around those flavours or explore something different.
Three barrel types are available – a barrel (200 litres), a hogshead (250 litres) and a butt (500 litres) at £4,500, £5,500 and £10,500 respectively.
The cost includes flavour consultation, whisky creation, the cask, storage for ten years, sampling, insurance, labelling and bottling.
Head Distiller Dr Jack Mayo said: “Everything we do at Holyrood is driven by flavour.
“That’s why our Cask Programme gives people the unique chance to tailor a cask of our whisky to suit their flavour preferences.”
David Robertson added: “Normally, if you invest in buying a cask of whisky from a distillery, you are limited to their spirit perhaps with a choice of one or two cask types.
“But we’re flipping things on their head and giving buyers the chance to design the flavour.
“By working with me and Jack, they can have a hand in each step of the whisky’s journey and be in control of shaping how the whisky tastes.”
Sales are limited to a maximum of two casks per person, with a deposit of £1500 per cask required to secure ownership. The 180-year-old building has been renovated to create a fully functioning distillery, which also produces its own gin – Holyrood Dry.
Holyrood Distillery’s home is a B-listed building which was built in 1835 as part of the Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway (E&DR). The E&DR was known as “The Innocent Railway” and much of the original right-of-way still exists as a bike and pedestrian path, including a tunnel under Holyrood Park.
The courtyard space will be used to host an outdoor market with food and drink vendors, similar to the popular markets taking place across the city.