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  • Writer's pictureErnie - Ernst Scheiner

Holyrood. New Release 2024. EMBRA

Lightly Peated Malt

Release No. 2

Holyrood's first release in 2024 is a slightly peated single malt, a vatting, i.e. a blend of three cask cultures, which is not chill-filtered and not artificially colored with caramel with 43.6% vol.

The name Embra uses letters to reflect the dialectal pronunciation for Edinburgh that is common among locals. The title thus underlines the geographical origin of the whisky and the distillery's connection to the people of the St Leonards district in the Southside, which is the name of the district of Edinburgh. It used to be a place of breweries, coal trading and craftsmen.

The new distillery manager Callum Rae raves about the EMBRA whisky:

“We wanted to find the perfect balance between the bold smoky flavors and texture of peated whiskey, while still remaining accessible.”

Therefore the single malt was made with whiskies

  • first fill bourbon barrels and

  • peated Islay quarter casks (presumably from Laphroaig) as well

  • Virgin American Oak Barrels

harmoniously blended.

The mashbill formula of the EMBRA spirit was created of

  • 41% Distilling Malt,

  • 56% Heavily Peated Malt and

  • 3% Chocolate Malt together.

The Holyrood team obtains the malt primarily in bags of 25kg crushed form from Crisp Malt. There is no malt mill at the distillery.

The surprise is the world's unique yeast cocktail. Most Scottish distilleries use the standard yeasts from the manufacturers like Mauri, Kerry or Lallemand (Anchor). This is not the case at young Holyrood distillery. They differentiate themselves and use innovative mixtures that allow them to create special aroma and flavour profiles. The wort of the EMBRA malt recipe met a highly idiosyncratic, very complex mixture of different yeasts.

There is a DY502, dry distillers yeast, recommended for example by Anchor for malt whiskey distillation. Brewer's yeast from the northern English brewery Tetley, the top-fermented Nottingham Ale yeast, the fruity Belgian dry (monastery) brewer's yeast, the Granzin [sic, Gran Zin] from the Italian manufacturer LAFOOD or a dry Passion Fruit yeast (e.g. from Lafood).

Copyright Courtesy Holyrood Distiller 2024

A long fermentation and gentle double distillation in the long, narrow-necked Swan Neck pot stills followed, generating a spirit that quickly matured in the oak barrels in the Royal Elizabeth Yard near Kirkliston, a suburb of Edinburgh.

“The mindset for Embra was to set the stage for an exploration into peated whisky. Edinburgh is the gateway to Scotland for many people and this is the idea at the heart of this spirit.
We wanted to find the perfect balance of bold smoky flavours and textures of peated whisky while still being accessible to a new whisky drinker.

When someone says they don't like peated whiskey this is the whisky to hand to them.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t something for the seasoned peated drinkers as we have all of the hallmark flavors and textures of a great whisky.”

Holyrood Embra Whisky Aromas

"Nose: Lemon peel, horse chestnut seeds, hints of peppermint and light hickory smoke.

Taste: Wafer cookies, dark chocolate mousse, notes of earthy Highland peat smoke.

Finish: Lightly stewed pears with a rounded, clean finish."

Official information.

"For our 2024 single malt whisky releases,
we have chosen an illustrative 'lino-cut' design style,
taking inspiration from iconographic images of St Leonard."

Photo copyright Holyrood Distillery.

Holyrood is not only a perfect example for Scottish distilleries, but also for the whisky industry as a whole:
The transparency of the production and maturation of the whiskies allows consumers differentiated insights into the creation of the product.

Further Holyrood Distillery information.

Detailed information about the creation and production processes

see my articles

or in


Impressions. Holyrood at Work

Whiskey Made in Edinburgh.

Further details please see website of Holyrood Distillery.

Double Click Photo

The importer for Germany is Kirsch Import


About the author

Ernie - Ernst J. Scheiner is the editor of the portal The Gateway to Distilleries He photographs over 150 distilleries from the inside and describes the production of the whiskeys in detail. Since studying at the University of Edinburgh he has been interested in the subject of whiskey and has published in specialist magazines

such as The Ireland Journal, the small distillery, Whiskey Passion and The Highland Herold . Features and stories appeared in the blogs whiskeyexperts, whiskeyfanblog and whiskeyintelligence . As head of the VHS Ingelheim, and now as a whiskey ambassador, he leads distillation colleges, study trips and whiskey culture tours to the sources of whiskey.

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