Nurse and astrophysicist distilling the future of Edinburgh whisky distillery

The new £6.7 million Holyrood Distillery will open to the public in July and has added talent to the single malt team to help make the venture a success.

Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 6:23 pm
Holyrood Distillery team

Elizabeth Machin is the latest addition to the distilling team supporting former Jack Mayo, the head distiller who has a doctorate in astrophysics but now focuses his analytical mind to explore the world of whisky.

Elizabeth recently graduated with an MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University, following in the footsteps of fellow Heriot-Watt alumni Jack.

She was brought up in Spain and trained as a nurse before she changed career and entered the world of distilling.

Holyrood Distillery team

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Elizabeth joins distiller Ollie Salvesen who joined the team in summer 2018 after a spell working on Islay inspired him to study brewing and distilling.

They will run the day-to-day production of whisky, gin and liqueurs at Holyrood while working with Jack as the team create an innovative range of spirits driven by a fundamental focus on flavour. The distillery will also offer an immersive visitor experience with daily hour-long guided tours throughout the year.

When it opens in July, Holyrood Distillery, which is situated within walking distance of the Royal Mile, will be the first fully operational single malt whisky distillery in the heart of Edinburgh for almost 100 years.

The distillery and visitor centre project was initially led by founders Rob and Kelly Carpenter and David Robertson, alongside commercial director Bill Farrar and Jack.

Debs Newman, the distillery’s visitor experience director who was previously at the V&A in Dundee, will now be supported by Holly Aynsley as visitor operations and events manager, Jen Wallace as retail and admissions manager and Liam Robertson as tourism business development manager.

In addition, Ian Gemmell is the distillery’s finance manager.

With tours and tasting experiences set to run daily throughout the year, the distillery expects to employ around 12 guides, complemented by other visitor experience assistants.

The news comes as the distillery reveals that only a handful of its limited edition run of 100 casks remain available for sale following huge international interest in its recently launched cask purchase programme.

David Robertson said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for us at Holyrood as the distillery takes shape and our team is rapidly expanding. We started off with a small team and already we’ve doubled in size and we expect to grow further within the first year. With our location in the centre of Edinburgh, we know we’re going to attract huge interest and visitor numbers, so we’re making sure we’re ready and raring to go for that.”

“Releasing 100 casks for sale was also a huge moment for us and the reaction has been remarkable, with enquiries coming in from close to home here in Edinburgh and from all corners of the world.

Within a few days, we’ve almost sold out and there are only a few left so we’d advise any interested people to get in touch as soon as possible!”