Oxford Rye Whisky

Wow, what a long time ago 2017 feels like now. Trump was just beginning his presidency, Brexit negotiations had yet to formally kick off and global pandemics were still exclusively the stuff of Hollywood zombie movies. 2017 was also the year the folks at The Oxford Artisan Distillery took their first bold steps into the world of organic whisky production. Since then, while the world has been turned completely on its head, the daring blend of 70% rye, 20% wheat and 10% malted barley has sat in the background, quietly evolving into Oxford’s first ever organic heritage grain whisky.

Unlike The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s gin and vodka offerings, all of which have proved an immense success here at The Oxford Wine Company, whisky takes a bit of time to form and shape. The whisky was first fermented (for longer than most others do) in Hungarian oak vats. This helped to impart fruity and creamy notes before the whisky was even distilled.

Post distillation, it matured in American oak casks. Over the course of nearly four years the liquid expanded and contracted as the temperature shifted with the heat of the seasons. In so doing, the whisky moved in and out of the wood encapsulating it, taking on flavours of clove, nutmeg and vanilla amongst others. These flavours blended with the natural spiciness imparted by grains of rye and something intricately complex and delicious slowly but surely began to take shape.

As happens, each different cask took on a life of it’s own. That’s when Master Distiller Chico Rosa stepped up. Following patterns of development he combined samples of each cask to produce a product greater than the sum of its parts. It’s this product that you’ll taste should you get the chance to crack open a bottle on 23rd April 2021.

The summers of 2018 and 2019 seems to have had had a significant impact on maturation as tentative earlier releases demonstrated deeper and more complex flavours than one would assume for a whisky so young. Indeed as the years progressed, it’s been exciting to taste various incarnations before the product was yet to be referred to as a whisky. Which leads us to the inaugural release. Four years may be a long time to wait, but this just the beginning for Oxford Organic Rye Whisky.

Over the coming months and years we’ll get the chance to see a different type of evolution. 2017 was a pioneering time for The Oxford Artisan Distillery; many different styles of barrel and variations of grain mash were used at the outset before the distilling team landed upon their own signature style. Over the coming months and years us, as consumers, will have the opportunity to track this progression for ourselves.

While we’re fascinated to go on this journey, right now it’s all about the first step. This inaugural release is a limited edition run and we can’t wait to get our hands on it and offer our customers the chance to do the same!

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: Banana yoghurt, flowery herbs, freshly baked bread, caramel, butter, clove, nutmeg and nuts
  • Palate: Creamy banana bread, toasted sourdough, almonds and vanilla
  • Finish: Praline with refreshing rye and warming spices
  • Overall: Fruity and spicy, with layers of cream, bread and herbs