For those who enjoyed our initial whisky releases or for those encountering Oxford Rye for the first time, this is The Graduate. Ticking all the boxes of our signature style, the flavours of our fourth batch are bigger, bolder and with an acquired complexity.
Made with a variety of American Oak casks from multiple cooperages, this whisky is a result of casks with different origins, toasts, sizes (both 130L and 225L) and maturation in different micro-climates. This release is a blend of 6 casks in total - cask numbers 25, 27, 28, 31, 33 and 36.
The grains for this expression were harvested in 2017 from maslin populations, a mixture of heritage rye and wheat grown together, in this case in sandy soils 7 miles away from our distillery. Fermentation was in Hungarian oak vats and the spirit was double distilled in both our stills, Nautilus and Nemo.
“With its Oxford origins, this whisky perfectly captures the exuberant energy of our distillery, as well as the value and significance of what we are achieving at The Oxford Artisan Distillery. This is Oxford Rye Whisky post-education.”
Francisco Rosa, Master Distiller
Bottled at 51.3%, our highest proof yet, this whisky can be enjoyed neat, with a dash of water or in cocktails (we suggest the classics – an Old-fashioned, Sazerac or Manhattan).
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’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.
Our intricate production techniques create our whisky’s flavour profile, with the grains bringing herbal, floral, spicy and nutty notes, and the sandy soils they were grown in adding a salty influence to the grain character. The fermentation in Hungarian oak vats brings fruit and boosts the lovely creamy notes. Our bespoke stills give espresso and toasted sourdough smokiness, and finally, it is the interaction with the casks, marrying all these flavour notes together, also adding sweetness, vanilla and toffee.
Our largest bottling yet, there are 1428 bottles available.
Watch our animation below to see how we’re doing things differently, using regenerative farming to grow our heritage grains, supporting biodiversity and making our critically-acclaimed Oxford Rye Whisky.
“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.