Matured in New American oak for three and a half years, Heritage Corn Whisky (50.4% ABV) is described as creamy with sweet vanilla, allspice and cinnamon notes.
The whisky contains 51 per cent corn (a mixture of 'sweet’ and multicoloured 'flint' corn seeds), half of which has been malted, along with 34 per cent rye, 10 per cent wheat and 5 per cent malted barley. For texture, the corn was fermented 'dry' as a paste after milling and before mixing with water and the other grains. Lactic maceration was also undertaken prior to mash.
The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s head of grain & sustainable development John Letts took his inspiration for Heritage Corn Whisky from his childhood in Canada, when he was surrounded by industrial farming of modern hybrid corn but exposed to the grain’s more diverse heritage. Having created a genetically diverse corn population in his garden, he distilled the harvest after seven years.
Certified organic in April 2020, The Oxford Artisan Distillery is the only distillery to use genetically diverse ‘populations’ of ancient heritage grains, restored and bulked up by archaeobotanist and organic farmer Letts. Heritage Corn Whisky will join other Grain Stories expressions inspired by master distiller Chico Rosa’s research into different heritage grains combined with a variety of distilling and maturation processes.
Of Heritage Corn Whisky, Rosa said: “The rye...is quite noticeable through its spicy character, but the corn is oily and its charm comes through with butter and biscuity notes that elevate the spirit.”
A limited release of 830 bottles, Heritage Corn Whisky is priced at £95 per bottle (50cl) and available exclusively from the distillery website