The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s latest whisky release, Crafty Little Rye, will be made available through an online ballot of 100 bottles from the 29th April and then launched exclusively in the onsite shop from Friday 6th May.
Batch #6 of Oxford Rye Whisky uses the house mash bill of 90% maslin (a mix of 70% rye and 20% wheat from their own heritage grain populations grown together in the same field) and 10% heritage malted barley, the grain is flattened and the resulting course flakes are made up in to a thick porridge. Fermentation for this batch took place over six days in the distillery’s bespoke 5000L Hungarian Oak vats, using their own in-house fermenting culture.
The resulting new make 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. Having spent many years in production the Port cask brings the very best characteristics of Portugal’s Douro wine valley to the Thames valley, and the character of Oxford’s only Rye Whisky.
Master Distiller, Francisco Rosa, who is forever experimenting and tinkering in his lab, is driven by creating experiences. Rosa says: “Flavour is one of the best ways to take us into a story of time and place told with the help of our memories, and whisky is one of the best ways to do this.”
When evaluating Cask #271, Rosa felt this parcel of whisky was at its prime and should be bottled in its own right. Rosa comments: “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.”
“Using virgin American Oak and an extremely good quality vintage Port cask, we have preserved both the structure and balance of our Oxford rye house character and the nuanced influence of Portugal’s famed fortified wine.”
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.
Priced at £25.00 and presented in a 20cl glass flask to improve the accessibility of The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s more premium expressions, Crafty Little Rye is bottled at 45.2% ABV. 100 bottles will be made available via an online ballot from 10am on 29th April through the distillery’s website: www.theoxfordartisandistillery.com/craftylittlelottery (this will only work on Friday at 10am) The remaining bottles will be on sale from the distillery’s on-site shop in Oxford.