I must admit I have never tried a drink made from rye before but when I saw that The Oxford Artisan Distillery had produced “Oxford Rye” I was intrigued. TOAD make a fabulous gin just outside Oxford and we were lucky enough to get a behind the scenes peek at the Distillery a few years ago when we also met Tom who runs the distillery. The gin is fabulous, the ethos behind the distillery extraordinary and I knew therefore that this was going to be another great drink.
The distillery was founded in 2017 and is Oxford’s first-ever distillery. Oxford Rye is their latest offering having developed a vodka and tequila since starting with the gin, all of them lovingly crafted using raw materials and methods from simpler times. TOAD is one of just a few grain-to-bottle distilleries in the country and one of only a very few that fully control its own crop. The distillery’s ancient heritage grains are grown in genetically diverse fields, mostly within 50 miles of Oxford. The eco systems their farming creates aren’t just organic but the grains improve the quality of the land and the health of its wildlife. By buying, and drinking this you are doing your bit for the environment (still drink responsibly kids).
The spirit itself is classed as a pure rye spirit and not a rye whiskey because it is less than three years old. It has a delicate flavour with a beautiful golden appearance. It is twice distilled in American Oak barrels and is nutty with a hint of spiciness.
No two years of the spirit will be the same though as TOAD’s farming practices mean the flavours in the rye will be slightly different with every harvest, which I love.
I love it mixed with ginger ale and can’t wait for the cold winter nights to drink it warmed with a big slab of ginger cake.
If you are more of a traditionalist though you can drink it neat, or over ice now.
Available from the distillery, Masters of Malt or Amazon with an RRP of £40 for a 70cl bottle.