English producer The Oxford Artisan Distillery has released the second batch of its rye whisky.Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2 is bottled at 47.4% ABV. It was aged in virgin American oak casks and vintage Port casks. Tasting notes include herbal, floral and creamy butterscotch, leading to nutty and spicy banana bread, berry jams, dried fruits, leather and tobacco. Chico Rosa, master distiller, said: “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 fields of grain, this is a diverse experience of sensations.” The Oxford Artisan Distillery is the only distillery in England to use populations of ancient heritage grains, according to the brand, grown using sustainable methods that date back to the 19th century. For Batch #2, the following grain ratio was used: 90% maslin (a mix of 70% rye and 20% wheat from populations grown together in the same field); and 10% heritage malted barley, harvested in summer 2017. The grain was not milled, but flattened in a traditional mill from the 1920s. Fermentation took place in 5,000l Hungarian oak vats during spring to deliver ‘richer, fruit characters’. The mash was then distilled twice. Only 973 bottles of Oxford Rye Whisky Batch #2 are available to purchase from today (13 July), priced at RRP £95 (US$132) per bottle. The whisky will be available from specialist retailers including Master of Malt, Harvey Nichols, The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Oxford Wine and the distillery’s website. Batch #2 follows the distillery’s inaugural rye whisky release in April this year, Batch #1, which sold out on the day of its launch. Rosa added: “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.” The third batch of rye whisky will be released on 31 July to celebrate the distillery’s fourth anniversary. The expression was matured in Moscatel de Setúbal casks. The Oxford Artisan Distillery was certified organic in June 2020.