UK Organic grain-to-glass producer The Oxford Artisan Distillery has released a limited edition of its inaugural English rye whisky.
Made using a grain ratio of 90% maslin (a mix of 70% rye and 20% wheat from populations grown together in the same field) and 10% heritage malted barley, which was harvested in summer 2017, the expression was then matured in two virgin American oak casks for more than three years.
Tasting notes include rye spice, banana bread, hints of freshly baked sourdough and herbal notes, which complement the whisky’s creamy and nutty texture.
Chico Rosa, master distiller, said: “This whisky perfectly showcases our distillery terroir. The huge flavour impact of our grains: herbal notes from the rye, nutty caramel from the wheat and sweet malted barley combine with oaky vanilla.
In the Oxford tradition, using a traditional mill from the 1920s, the grain is flattened instead of milled, creating coarse flakes that are made into an ‘8,000l watery porridge’ and stirred ‘vigorously’ by oar. Cold winter fermentation takes place in 5,000l Hungarian oak vats. The mash is then double distilled in the distillery’s custom-made stills, called Nautilus and Nemo.
“The long fermentation in our Hungarian oak vats, where lactic acid bacteria from our fields have been enjoying their new home, contribute creamy and sour notes, bringing praline to the table,” continued Rosa.
“The flaked grains which become baked around Nautilus’s steam coils, gift the whisky with extra toasty, sourdough flavours. Yin and yang, the whisky offers refreshing rye and warming Christmas spices, creamy banana bread and nutty, vanilla notes. Layers of cream, bread and herbs.”
The distillery was certified organic last April and is the only English distiller to use genetically diverse populations of ancient heritage organic grains.
Later this month, the second batch of Oxford Rye Whisky will be available to pre-order. The second batch was created using the same grain mix as Batch #1, however, fermentation took place in spring 2018 in warmer weather which has resulted in ‘more tropical fruit characters’, according to the distillery.
For more information, go to theoxfordartisandistillery.com