The Oxford Artisan Distillery Range Review

Whisky is one of the oldest beverages in the world, it’s also one of the most delicious.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re enjoying a wee dram with your friends and family, in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night, or down at the local pub, whisky is a drink for all occasions and all settings.

When we hear the word whisky, we automatically think of Scotland, and for good reason. Scotland is home to some of the world’s most prestigious whisky distilleries, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t get involved either. The Oxford Artisan Distillery, previously known as ‘The Spirit of TOAD (The Oxford Artisan Distillery) is Oxford, England’s first legal distillery, and what a belter it is.

The distillery is responsible for some of the finest whiskies on the market today, though four in particular, have been turning heads for all of the right reasons, and have been generating quite the buzz in the whisky world.

Easy Ryder

Easy Ryder is a rye whisky that is made from a selection of nine different casks. These include American oak casks of different degrees of charring, and Moscatel Roxo to give the whisky sweet and vibrant notes and aromas.

Whereas you typically associate rye with American whiskey, this particular blend is most certainly not American, though it does have some characteristics associated with popular US whiskies. Think of it as the ultimate combination of Scotch whisky and Tennessee bourbon.

Easy Ryder is a stunning burnt amber colour and at 50% ABV, the burn is definitely there.

On the nose you get caramelised pineapple and baked apples instantly, along with underlying herbal notes and buttery brioche bread aromas. Smell deeper still and you can detect milk and white chocolate with vanilla ice cream.

On the palate the vanilla ice cream flavour theme continues, complimented by lightly toasted oak, caramelised hazelnuts, sticky toffee pudding, and buttery biscuits.

The finish is ridiculously smooth and lasting, giving those fortunate enough to drink it, notes of peppermint, floral herbs, winter spices, and baked apples. Be warned, this tipple is dangerously drinkable!

Purple Grain

Purple Grain is another favourite from the prestigious Oxford distillery, especially as it’s a cask-strength anniversary edition in celebration of the distillery’s 5th anniversary.

This is a special whisky. You can tell from the appearance, the aroma, the history, and of course, from the taste. Made from heritage grains, the whisky is matured within Portuguese Moscatel Roxo casks which gives the whisky a decadently rich finish.

This stunning pastel yellow whisky is 53.6% ABV, yet it is as smooth as butter. The golden pastel yellow is really highlighted by the purple labelling on the bottle. Everything about this whisky just screams LUXURY!

On the nose you get floral and herby notes with summer berry undertones. The grains are definitely there with baked oats, flapjacks, golden syrup, demerara sugar, and black peppercorns. Needless to say, a drop of this whisky would make the best peppercorn sauce you could ever imagine.

On the palate you get buttery croissants, sticky dates, tart grapes, toasted hazelnuts, and rich milk chocolate notes.

The finish is medium and is lightly smoky with more peppercorns, toasted bread, and a murmur of zesty mint and lemon that lingers in the background.

The Graduate

The Graduate is another limited-edition whisky that is instantly recognisable as one of The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s range.

Again, this rye whisky is matured in a variety of different oak casks from the USA, giving different degrees of char, colour, and aroma. In total, it is a blend of 6 casks – casks 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, and 36.

The whisky is a gorgeous toffee colour and is a fiery 51.3% ABV. The whisky goes incredibly well in classic cocktails, or can be sipped neat or enjoyed with a drop or two of mineral water to really take it to a whole other level.

On the nose you get star anise and pepper, which are complimented by aromas of baked apple and banana. There is also a touch of ginger in the background that really helps lift the beverage and give it an even fresher aroma.

On the palate you get salted caramel and banana, rich vanilla custard, cocoa beans, fresh chillies, liquorice, and a touch of fruity berries.

The finish is smooth and creamy, almost like a latte, with peppermint notes and toasted oak and grains.

The Tawny Pipe

Finally, we have the Tawny Pipe.

The first single cask expression from Oxford Rye Whisky, released at cask strength, this is a limited edition release of just 587 bottles in total.

A gorgeous crimson amber colour, this cask-strength whisky kicks like Lionel Messi at 56% ABV, yet the burn is decidedly smooth and obscenely pleasant.

On the nose this is perhaps their fruitiest whisky of their entire range. Instantly you get candied grapefruit, prunes, and tart raspberries.

On the nose this is perhaps their fruitiest whisky of their entire range. Instantly you get candied grapefruit, prunes, and tart raspberries.

On the palate, sticky prunes are ever-present, complimented by creme brulee, mulling spices, and sweet Madagascan vanilla.

The finish is long, combining notes of pink peppercorns, spearmint, spicy mangoes, and mulled cider. The sweet and savoury vibe here works flawlessly.

Remember, if you’re on the hunt for delicious whiskies like those listed above, and many more besides, make sure you head on over to and grab yourself a bargain or two for this weekend.

Tags: Easy RyderPurple GrainThe GraduateThe Oxford Artisan Distillery
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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