It’s here. Our most anticipated release yet. The one we get emailed about on the daily. And this time it’s a whisky.
Released annually to celebrate our birthday, this year, as we turn 4, we think this is our best Anniversary Rye yet.
First rested in American Oak casks and then fully matured in Moscatel de Setúbal wine casks, sourced directly from Portugal, this is a summer expression if ever there was one; it breathes a wealth of freshness and summer fruits, with complexity and a vibrancy of flavours.
Double distilled in our custom-made stills, Nautilus and Nemo, where the grains get baked into sticky sourdough notes, the resulting new make spirit was matured in virgin American oak casks for 17 months and then put in to Moscatel de Setúbal wine casks for a period of 19 months.
Bottled at cask strength, Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #3 has an intriguing and complex profile, packed with notes of fruity gummy bears and banana bubble gum, then swathes of honey and flowery fruits, touched off with white chocolate, a zing of tea-tree and finally nutmeg and smoky hints of oriental BBQ.
Bringing out a completely different side to the grain, the influence of the Moscatel de Setúbal wine cask on this special anniversary bottling is not to be underestimated, with the floral and stone fruit character adding a rich sweetness to the rye.
Here at The Oxford Artisan Distillery, responsible farming will always be the first stage in our whisky making; taking our time, regenerating the land and supporting biodiversity with every bottle.
The organic heritage grain used for this batch was harvested in the Autumn of 2017, just after we threw open the doors to our distillery for the first time. The first casks of rye whisky were laid down within months.
It was a diverse maslin grain harvest, such is the result of letting nature take its course in a healthy, diverse field, with several different grains growing together including multiple ancient heritage rye strains, wheat strains and even a few oats and a few thistles. It is this authenticity, transported straight from our fields, that gives our whisky its flavour. We like to say we’re farming a new approach to spirits.
Rye is amazingly powerful and will always bring certain characteristics, but where our whisky is rooted in American Rye Whiskey it is certainly not American Rye Whiskey. A long fermentation in Hungarian oak vats has contributed fruity and creamy notes and toasty sourdough crust flavours come courtesy of flaking the grain in a centenary mill, rather than true milling.
As with all our Oxford Rye Whisky bottlings, this is a limited edition run, never to be repeated.
“This in an extremely assured debut which shows huge promise.
English whisky just got even more interesting.”
We use rye, wheat and barley grain, all historically fascinating and grown from varieties that were common before 1904, when the advent of modern farming changed how crops were sown and grown.
Our heritage grain is grown sustainably, eschewing pesticides, chemical fertilisers and even manuring. There is low to no crop rotation and the crop is undersown with clover. All of this contributes to an abundance of wildflowers, insects and birds across our farms.
In the past, farmers grew genetically-diverse landraces that adapted to local growing conditions over many generations. Our ‘heritage populations’ are also diverse, resilient and adaptable. Each plant in the field is different, creating a crop which is more vigorous, healthy and hardy than modern monoculture crops – without the need for chemicals.
Every part of our landrace sustains the agro-ecosystem – from microorganisms in the soil, to insects buzzing and birds flying above.