Oxley gin holds a special place in this blog already. It was the gin we chose to take on vacation with us, which means that from the outset it met a very specific set of criteria.
Firstly, we wanted something that was classically styled, and capable of “tasting like gin” in any cocktail it was put in. Second, it had to be versatile and capable of doing many things well.Finally,we wanted a gin that was capable of keeping gin devotees interested. Oxley accomplished all of these things and was a good companion on this trip. We put it to work in many Gin and Tonics (w/ Fever Tree); we tested its mettle by making a pitcher (yes, you read me correctly: a pitcher) of Corpse Reviver #2s.
On to the Review Proper: Oxley’s story
Be prepared for a bit of science class here. So Oxley is “cold distilled,” as to not impart some of the bad notes that heat distillation can impart upon a spirit…
My Take: I want to interject and formally declare shenanigans. I don’t distill myself, but I’m not sure that I’m necessarily buying this. I think cold distillation is novel, different, and can facilitate the addition of different flavors (with different results) but I’m not buying the fact that other gin and spirits have bad flavors. It may be a bit of marketing talk here.
… and therefore cold distillation more naturally can separate the good alcohols from the bad alcohols and result in a better tasting final product. There are two ways to accomplish cold distillation (as I understand it, based on my very limited grasp of distillation). You can freeze the alcohol at different temperatures, and scrape off the fractional alcohols. This would likely result in some really super cold temperatures. Oxley uses the second method, which is to to use a vacuum to lower the boiling point, and therefore their distillation method looks like standard distillation. It just happens at lower temperatures.
and what do we think?
The nose is strongly citrus and strongly juniper. Its unmistakably London Dry. Upon sipping, the juniper is very at the front, but not overwhelming. Its pleasant. The citrus opens up to express lemon and grapefruit(?) notes. It tastes like a good London Dry should taste. Its fairly smooth for a 94 proof gin and tastes lighter than the strength may indicate. It mixes very well, and imparts all of the things that a good gin should to a gin cocktail. It makes for a good gin and tonic, a very nice martini and a refreshing corpse reviver #2.
But again, do not be mistaken. Though the process is novel, this is not likely a gin that is going to win converts. Its a gin for people who love gin. The price tag (~60 US dollars) will ensure that its potential market stays on the upper end. Alike Nolet, the higher price point seems to ensure that it will only be bought by gin enthusiasts, and that’s okay, because I think that is the best market for this gin.
Again, on the price point- for 60 dollars, Oxley is smooth and rather good, but not exceptional I have a hard time recommending it over other classic London Dry gins who do the same thing for a significantly lower price point. Also, I’m not convinced that the cold distillation method alters the flavor profile of the juniper and citrus in a significant enough fashion to justify the price, or for me to wholeheartedly endorse it.
Best consumed: Martinis, or bold cocktails which require a strong flavored gin to stand out
Availability: High end liquor stores across the US
Rating: Its good, it does a lot of things well, but hard to recommend at such a high price point