CRAFTY LITTLE RYE
20cl | 45.2% ABV
THE BALLOT HAS NOW CLOSED BUT THIS RELEASE WILL BE AVAILABLE AT OUR OXFORD DISTILLERY SHOP WHILE STOCKS LAST
For our sixth batch of Oxford Rye Whisky we’re doing things differently. This limited edition flask is exclusive to our distillery shop in Oxford but we’ve managed to secure 100 bottles to sell online. In the name of fairness these 100 bottles will be sold by ballot this weekend. Find out more about the ballot here.
But it’s not just how we’re selling it that’s different. We’ve gone a bit lower on the ABV and created a Crafty Little Rye in both name and stature. But don’t judge a flask by its size. This is big summer fun, approachable, easy to love and, dare we say it, pocket size. This is a winning combination of the sweetness of our house character and the wine cask playing with the refreshing character revealed by the whisky. Take it to summer gatherings, share it with friends and enjoy it in company as the good weather finally takes hold.
This Crafty Little Rye uses the house mash bill of 90% maslin (a mix of 70% rye and 20% wheat from populations grown together in the same field) and 10% heritage malted barley. Fermentation for this batch took place over six days in our bespoke 5000L Hungarian Oak vats, using our own in-house fermenting culture.
The resulting new make was matured in Cask #42, a lightly charred new American Oak cask, for two years and one month, which gave the new make its classic house profile. The whisky was then transferred and finished in a Vintage Port cask, #271, for one year and two months.
As soon as our Master Distiller, Francisco Rosa, tasted Cask #271 he knew this parcel of whisky was at its prime and ready to bottle. Francisco says: “The Port cask came from a top producer in the Douro valley, used in champagne for ten years before being used for Vintage Port for another 15 years, so this is a classic French barrique which was freshly emptied straight before coming to us in Oxford.”
Crafty Little Rye opens with a bright fruity aroma of berries and banana. Nutty and chocolate-y with leather and tobacco deep in its roots with a touch of spearmint and smoke. Then, cherry clafoutis with Ferrero Rocher. Finishing with refreshing peppermint and warming peppercorn, wrapped up in strawberry yogurt.
All you have to do is enter the ballot is complete the form at the link below between 10am on Friday 29th April and midnight on Tuesday 3rd May 2022.
You will receive an email confirming your ballot entry. Duplicate entries will not be accepted.
100 entrants will be chosen at random and sent a notification and link to pay safely on our website. You must complete payment within 24 hours to secure your bottle.
If you have not received an email from us by Tuesday 10th May 2022, you have not been successful.
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.
“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.