Here at The Oxford Artisan Distillery, we have always prided ourselves on being (although small) hugely ambitious when it comes to our spirits. Over the past half decade since we opened our doors, we have won the world’s best varietal vodka twice at the World Vodka Awards, met smashing success at the Oxfordshire Business Awards and been crowned the number one thing to do in Oxford by Trip Adviser. It has been five wonderful years of whirlwind success for sustainably farmed grain and its metamorphosis into our spirits at the hands of our masterful distilling team. That said, it’s our most recent series of wins that has left us beaming at our beloved bottles: three of our spirits have been recognised by the Great Taste Awards 2022.
The Great Taste Awards is the largest and most trusted food and drink accreditation scheme across the globe. The awards were founded in 1994 by the Guild of Fine Food Retailers and the panel of judges is comprised of over 500 renowned experts who sample each submission and provide honest, straightforward and impartial feedback. Each submission is evaluated by the panel and ranked according to a 3-star system. This year they received over 14,000 entries.
The champion for our distillery at this year’s awards was our Oxford Rye Vodka, which was the only vodka in the competition to win 3 stars. A firm favourite of our distillery tour guests, if you haven’t yet tried it, you’re in for a smooth, chocolate-y, coffee-y experience like no other.
‘Earthy, spicy, peppery on the nose, this has clear rye character. Swirled over ice, it yields a Vollkornbrot aroma, most enticing. Spicy in impact on the palate, but smoothness wins out. The finish is balanced and long-lasting. Remarkably long lasting, maintaining rye character pleasingly. We're not sure this could be improved.’
Next up on the podium was Oxford Rye Whisky The Graduate, which was honoured with 2 Great Taste stars. This is our fourth whisky release (and we still have a handful left!) and despite its young age, The Graduate was one of only 5 whiskies to received 2 stars this year. No whiskies were awarded 3 stars, so it is truly an honour. The Graduate has become the valedictorian of the distillery.
‘We liked the toasted nut and spice aromas of this rye whisky. The palate was wonderful: vanilla and spicy, with toasted hazelnuts, really sweet and with a good length. We thought it was a really well-balanced rye and loved the sweet nutty finish. It's very more-ish.’
Our final winner is our very special Oxford Rye spirit, with 1 star. A whisky in method, but not in legality or definition, it is a great showcase of the unique character of our heritage grains and handmade stills. Our Oxford Rye takes the palate on a decadent, nuanced journey.
‘Light and clear gold with an elegant visual appeal. Butter and cereal on the nose, perhaps from the oak. Toasted brioche on the palate. A comfortable level of alcohol - we would be interested to know the strength. Very original and very good.’
We are so beyond proud of our entire team here at the distillery.