Everything about Oxley Gin screams super-premium gin: production capacity is only 240 bottles/day, it claims to be the first cold-distilled spirit ever, the cap is covered by a stylish leather tie and, of course, it is the most expensive bottle of gin in our local store (US$59.99). Is all this extravagance worthwhile? We took the plunge and bought a bottle to find out.
Before describing the gin, it is worth probing further into the packaging and the hype. Examine the picture on the right, and you’ll instantly see that the Oxley Gin bottle is distinctive. It sits within a galvanized tin cup at the bottom, and its cork on top is surrounded by a leather strap. The classic label design completes the premium image. Interestingly, the gin, which is in the “London Dry” style is labelled as a “classic English dry gin”.
In their marketing materials, much is made of Oxley’s unique cold distillation process, which uses below-zero temperatures and very low pressure. Typical gin distillation uses heat to separate alcohol from other ingredients at a temperature of 78 degrees celsius. Their claim is that these high temperatures cook the botanicals and negatively impacts the flavors. Cold distilling means that fresh flavors remain fresh-tasting in the final product. The ingredients themselves can be fresher as well. For example, whereas most gins use dried citrus, Oxley can use fresh. A thorough diagram of the process is available here.
So, with all the trouble they went through, how does Oxley Gin taste? Fabulous. It is one of the brightest, clean-tasting gins we’ve ever tried. The citrus and juniper aromas dance together nicely before tasting. (Oxley recommends serving their gin neat in a wine goblet to accentuate the aromas. We think that’s an excellent idea.) This gin has a very light mouth feel without a hint of oiliness. The recipe contains 14 botanicals, chosen to uniquely take advantage of their unique distillation process. Common ingredients like juniper and citrus have a fresher, less-harsh flavor. For a 94-proof gin, Oxley doesn’t taste its strength. The taste brings juniper and grapefruit flavors upfront, and finishes with a more complex mix of botanicals like meadowsweet and lemon.
Oxley Gin’s premium price means its best value is delivered when you enjoy it straight on the rocks for a special occasion, like “whew! it was a tough day at work today!” It also performs admirably in gin-centric cocktail like a martini or even a negroni.