8th November, 2022, Oxford UK, The Oxford Artisan Distillery have launched their latest batch of Oxford Rye Whisky, which will be exclusively made available through specialist retailer, Master of Malt and Master of Malt Trade.

Oxford Rye Whisky, The Tawny Pipe, is finished in a single 30-year-old Tawny Port Pipe. The oldest whisky to be bottled by the distillery so far, it is fragrant and velvety with a combination of sweet and savoury notes, showing a deep interaction between the distillery’s sustainably-farmed heritage grains and the exceptional single port cask.

All previous batches of Oxford Rye Whisky were produced from heritage grain harvested in 2017, the year the distillery first went in to production. This latest batch represents the last grain harvest of that year, grown on a single farm, in Sandy Lane, Oxford.

With a mash bill consisting, 90% Maslin and 10% Malted Barley (Maslin being a mixed crop of Rye and Wheat – giving a ratio of 70: 20: 10 Rye, Wheat and Barley), and fermentation undertaken in oak vats before being double distilled, the liquid spent one and half years in New American Oak, before being transferred to a single Tawny Port Pipe (cask #114) for two years and nine months. The former port cask had previously spent 30 years in the port industry.

Master Distiller, Francisco Rosa comments: “Through a long standing relationship with Portuguese coopers and winemakers, I was very lucky to be able to obtain a cask of this age and quality. Tawny Pipes are the oldest casks being used in Port, so the wine has had decades to soak deep into the wood and leave its character; they are full of big oxidised sweet Port flavours.”

With limited space, the distillery are not able to mature all of their casks at one time on site, however, this batch of whisky has been fully matured in the stillhouse, exposed to the variations in Oxford’s climate.

Rosa comments: “We only have around 40 casks on site all the time as we are one of the tiniest whisky distilleries. The casks are literally stacked by the stills, fermenters and mash tun, they are exposed to the day-to-day life of the distillery and its environment. The door is always open during working hours, so the ‘place factor’ is enhanced.”

The velvety character of the Tawny port perfectly complements the nuttiness of the rye, uplifting the classic sweet and savoury notes with rich pudding flavours of crème brulée, raspberries, treacle and prunes.

Oxford Rye Whisky is a celebration of farmers letting nature work its magic in a healthy field, regenerating the land, and supporting biodiversity with every harvest.

Oxford Rye Whisky, The Tawny Pipe is bottled at 56% ABV and priced at RRP of £95.00. From 8th November, 2022, 587 bottles will be made exclusively available through Master of Malt and Master of Malt Trade.

Tasting Notes for Oxford Rye Whisky, The Tawny Pipe (Batch #009),

Aroma: Fruity character from refreshing grapefruit, raspberry and prunes, sweet notes of banana split, cereal, muscovado sugar and vanilla with a hint of fennel, hazelnut and cinnamon.

Palate: Creamy texture like a creme brûlée with raisins, prunes and some spices.

Finish: Black and pink peppercorns play with mint and mango chutney.

Overall: With a deep interaction between fruits and grains, this a fragrant and treacle-y whisky with sweet and savoury vibes from our distillery.

The Oxford Artisan Distillery:

The distillery opened for business at its purpose-built site in Oxford on 27th July 2017.

It is Oxford’s first ever distillery and produces whisky with total provenance from grain to glass. The Oxford Artisan Distillery is rare amongst UK distilleries in producing its own spirit, rather than purchasing Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) from other sources, using biodiverse populations of ‘heritage’ grains grown through a new approach to grain farming known as Restorative Continuous Grain Cropping (R-CGC). 

About Heritage Grain:

The Oxford Artisan Distillery is the only distillery to use genetically diverse populations of heritage grains – revived from historical sources by a leading archaeo-botanist and grown sustainably on over 350 acres, known as land races, both close to Oxford and on prestigious estates such as Highgrove and Sandringham. The distillery’s grain contributes to biodiversity and soil health in the English countryside. The grains are the result of John Lett’s lifelong research on heritage grains: John has spent a large part of his life sourcing and growing heritage grains together, as polycultures. John takes 30-100 varieties of grain, mixes them up, and grows them together in the same field, at the same time. These sustainable fields are similar to what you would have seen in medieval times – the grains are grown specifically for the distillery, making The Oxford Artisan Distillery the only distillery in the world with a license to use John’s grains, grown exclusively for flavour and not yield.

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