Edinburgh’s Holyrood Distillery has recreated historic single malt whisky recipes based on those produced hundreds of years ago.

These whiskies to be created by Holyrood Distillery and as yet to be actually distilled will be sold at a one-off online auction by leading online whisky auction platform, Whisky Hammer from next weekend. Those who place the winning bids will be very much involved in the creation of the whisky.

Holyrood Distillery is the city’s first single malt distillery for almost a century. They have sourced the ancient ingredients and will use the whisky making styles of the capital’s distilleries popular in the 1800s and early 1900s. The distillery will distil and fill just 30 casks – 15 American oak Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads and 15 Spanish oak Pedro Ximenez Sherry Hogsheads.  

The one-off dedicated auction hosted by Whisky Hammer, will run from Friday 4 December at 7pm until Sunday 13 December at 7pm. This will be the first dedicated auction of its kind for the online Aberdeenshire-based company, which normally runs monthly online auctions offering a diverse range of rare and collectable whiskies.  

The single malts will be created using two ancient barley varieties: Chevallier, originally used from the 1820s to the 1900s by distilleries such as Bonnington, Croftanrigh and Yardheads, and Plumage Archer used by many Edinburgh distilleries from the early 1900s like Dean and Glen Sciennes. They will also use old-style brewer’s yeasts, distil slowly and fill only sherry casks in the way that the now-closed Edinburgh distilleries would once have done.

The majority of the city’s distilleries closed in the 19th century with the last ones being Dean, closing in 1922 and Glen Sciennes distillery, closing in 1925. Holyrood Distillery resurrected the distilling of single malt when it opened in 2019. 

Co-founder of Holyrood Distillery, David Robertson, said:  “Edinburgh’s distilling heritage and pedigree is long and chequered. It continues to amaze me that we have not seen a working single malt distillery in the city between 1925 and 2019! 

“This is a rare opportunity to own a single malt whisky which is based on the techniques and ingredients used by Edinburgh’s distilling forefathers. Purchasing one of these rare casks is an invitation to own a piece of history and tread in the footsteps of the people who created the city’s whisky industry.” 

Managing Director of Whisky Hammer, Daniel Milne, said: “Having seen increasing interest in silent stills and demand for old vintage whisky and cask purchases, this is a golden opportunity for our members to make history and fully participate in crafting a deeply personal and rare spirit. 

“Having followed Holyrood Distillery’s journey with interest, we’re excited and honoured to partner with them to offer 30 unique casks exclusively on Whisky Hammer.  This is an offer not to be missed by our members who we know love interesting and unusual whiskies. 

“As a Scottish family-run business we have seen rapid growth since our inaugural auction in 2016 and today we’re one of the largest online dedicated whisky auction platforms globally. Holyrood’s decision to work with us to offer its casks is further recognition of our growing reputation.” 

Bidding is expected to start at £3,000 for each numbered sherry hogshead (No 1 to 15 Chevallier and No 1 to 15 Plumage Archer), allowing bidders to select the barley variety, cask type (American or Spanish oak ex-sherry hogsheads) and cask number of most interest. The casks will be filled with the fledgling spirit in early 2021 and put to rest in the warehouse to become unique single malts.  

Winning bidders will be invited, Coronavirus restrictions allowing, to see their spirit being created at the distillery, cask filled at the warehouse and collect a small duty-paid sample of the spirit. They will also be invited to visit their cask annually to sample and assess the development of their whisky.  The hammer price paid will include storage for up to ten years, annual sampling and insurance. Bottling costs, customised labelling, duty and VAT are not included but illustrated costs can be provided on request. 

Holyrood Distillery started distilling in September 2019 in Edinburgh’s city centre. Located right in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic distilling district – on St. Leonard’s Lane with views over Holyrood Park – the 180 year-old building has been thoughtfully renovated to produce gin, liqueurs and whisky.  

To register to bid on the Holyrood 2021 Heritage Barley cask auction visit www.whiskyhammer.com