Oxford Rye Whisky 20CL


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Bottle notes

For our sixth batch of Oxford Rye Whisky, we’re doing things differently. 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.

Tasting notes

AROMA: Bright fruity aroma with notes of berries and banana. Nutty and chocolatey with leather and tobacco deep in its roots and a touch of spearmint and smoke.

PALATE: Cherry clafoutis with Ferrero Rocher. Light body with refreshing peppermint and warming peppercorn.

FINISH: Strawberry yogurt and coconut chocolate (Bounty) with our classic char finish.

OVERALL: Berries and creamy pastries play with nutty chocolate and a hint of refreshing herbs and spices.

“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.”

Francisco Rosa, Master Distiller


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 on 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.”


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