Whisky Focus - Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2

Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2


14th July 2021
The Oxford Artisan Distillery releases Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2

Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2Following the inaugural release back in April this year comes Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2. The English rye whisky was produced by the new small English micro distillery using ancient heritage grains, grown by the distillery’s certified organic and regenerative farming partners. These grains require no pesticides, fungicides or herbicides, supporting sustainability and biodiversity in their fields.

The first batch of The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s inaugural rye whisky, Batch #1 sold out on the day of its launch and this Batch #2 is expected to sell quickly also.

Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2, bottled at 47.4% ABV, is said to have the distillery’s classic Oxford Rye house-style: herbal and floral with creamy butterscotch notes, nutty and spicy banana bread, but with an elevated sweet wine flavour of berry jams, dried fruits, leather and tobacco.

The whisky in this batch was matured in virgin American oak casks and freshly emptied Vintage Port casks. Having spent many years in production the Port casks bring the very best characteristics of Portugal’s famed Douro wine valley to the Thames valley, and the character of Oxford’s only Rye Whisky.

Master Distiller, Chico Rosa comments: "The goal with this whisky was to bring you to Oxford; which for me is rye fields and old libraries. It’s herbal, nutty and cured. Like our diverse fields of grain, this is a diverse experience of sensations."

Adding: "The first release was our pure expression of rye - virgin oak, fruity, with a herbal and bready character. With this batch, I wanted to highlight a different side of our rye - the herbal nuttiness and rye goodness, while also bringing a decadent and musky hint of Vintage Port. Showing their years the Port casks add a layer of complexity, without overtaking, only complementing."

To create this expression, the grain ratio was made up 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 the summer of 2017. The grain was not milled, but instead flattened in a very loud, eccentric traditional mill from the 1920s. The resulting course flakes were then made up in to an 8,000L watery porridge.

Spring fermentation - which has delivered richer fruit characters compared with Batch #1’s winter fermentation - was undertaken in 5000L Hungarian oak vats. The porous oak helps the distillery to have a consistent and stable in-house fermenting culture, allowing microflora to give fruitier flavours and creamier notes. The mash was then double distilled in the distillery’s bespoke custom-made stills, named Nautilus and Nemo, where the grains get baked into smoky sourdough notes. Then finally, the new make spirit was matured in virgin American oak casks and freshly emptied Vintage Port casks.

The third batch of Oxford Rye Whisky is scheduled to be released on 31st July to celebrate the distillery’s fourth anniversary, meanwhile Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2, a release of 973 bottles with a RRP of £95 will be available from specialist online whisky retailers  such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt
 

Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2 Review


Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Aniseed and violets with an incredible herbal freshness and a touch of banana and praline leading to toffee. Red apples and hazelnut, peppery.

Taste: Creamy butterscotch, strawberry jam and blackcurrant with raisins, cobnuts and walnuts, honey and ginger cake.

Finish: An intensely sweet and spicy finish of banana bread, berries, tobacco, leather and peppermint with creamy caramel wrapped in an old dusty leather, library book.
 

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