Holyrood Distillery in Edinburgh open for visitors: introduction and pictures

After almost 100 years, whisky production has returned to Edinburgh

Distiller Ollie Salveson, Elizabeth Machin and Jack Mayo (back), founders Rob Carpenter and David Robertson (front)


Edinburgh can proudly present another tourist attraction and magnet for whisky lovers: On 30 July 2019 the Holyrood Distillery in St. Leonard's Lane has been officially opened. It's the first active whisky distillery in Edinburgh after a break of almost a hundred years since 1925 The Edinburgh Distillery (also known as West Sciennes, Newington Distillery or Glen Sciennes) closed down.

Large investment sum raised

The Holyrood Distillery is located near Edinburgh’s center at the edge of Holyrood Park and housed in a renovated and converted former railway goods shed. Already four years ago, we reported here on the first plans to build this distillery, now it has started production and opened its visitor center and shop. Founders Rob and Kelly Carpenter and David Robertson have invested £ 6.7m in the construction of the Holyrood Distillery and raised £ 5.8m of it from several investors, most notably £ 1.5m from the Scottish Investment Bank. For the rest, around 60 private investors were won, placing their trust in the competence of the experienced Distillery Manager Jack Mayo.

Create jobs and attract tourists

About 30 jobs were created with the construction of the Holyrood Distillery, which also heavily relies on the appeal as a new tourist attraction of Edinburgh. The Visitor Center is open daily, and the homepage of the Holyrood Distillery provides information on the various distillery tours and tastings. Incidentally, not only whisky is in the spotlight, but also gin, which is also produced here and already is available on the market.

Holyrood Distillery is focusing on four flavor profiles

The seven-meter-high pot stills with their extremely long neck, compared to the volume of the stills, were made in Moray by Speyside Copper Works. In the future, whisky with different flavor profiles will be produced here. To create them, Mayo and his team will play with the combination of different yeasts and different types of malt. Four flavor profiles are in the focus according to a press release of the Holyrood Distillery: smoky, fruity / floral, sweet and spicy. But until we can enjoy the first whisky from the Holyrood Distillery, we will have to wait at least three years.

Images: Holyrood Distillery

Rob Carter and David Robertson
Master Distiller Jack Mayo
David Robertson and Rob Carpenter
Jack Mayo (with dog Laika), Elizabeth Machin, Ollie Salvesen, Rob Carpenter and David Robertson