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ELLC releases first London Rye

East London Liquor Company (ELLC) has launched its inaugural rye – the first London-distilled whisky available to taste in more than 100 years.

ELLC’s London Rye will be the first London-distilled whisky available to drink in more than 100 years

ELLC’s London Rye has a mash bill of 42% rye and 58% extra pale malted barley, distilled in a combination of pot and column stills.

The expression, bottled at 46.8% abv, has been matured in three different cask styles: first in 30-litre and 60-litre new French oak with varying char levels, followed by two years in ex-Bourbon before being finished for one month in a PX cask.

“The great thing about producing our whisky in London is that we have a clean slate to be creative,” said ELLC’s whisky distiller Andy Mooney. “We’ve put a lot of attention and care into our first release of London Rye – from the char levels of the barrels, to the exact abv of the final product; perfect to drink neat the minute you crack open the bottle.”

London Rye is said to have an aroma of toffee, coffee, tobacco, dark chocolate, leather, fresh ginger, sarsaparilla and fruit candies; and a flavour of dark chocolate, ripe cherry, stewed apple, tahini, hay, sea salt, light tar and a hint of smoke.

Opened in Bow Wharf 2014, ELLC brought distilling back to London’s east end for the first time since 1904, when Lea Valley ceased operating.

The distillery was expanded at the end of 2017 with the installation of a new whisky still and brew kit, enabling it to bring more stages of whisky production in house. In May of 2018, ELLC secured £1.5 million in funding through Crowdcube, which has contributed to quadrupling the site’s whisky production capacity.

The London Distillery Company, now based in Bermondsey, brought whisky distilling back to London after a century absence in 2013. While the firm’s inaugural rye is available to pre-order, bottles have not yet been shipped.

Just 269 bottles of ELLC’s London Rye have been released at an RRP of £85 (US$110).

The whisky will be available from midday today (23 November) from select bars and restaurants around the UK, as well as the distillery’s Bow Wharf home. A limited release of bottles will also be available from the East London Liquor Company bottle shops in Bow Wharf and Borough Market from midday on 1 December.

ELLC will continue to release limited editions of its London Rye, and will also bottle single malt and other varieties of whisky made from “unusual bases”. The team is currently experimenting with casks made from new American and French oak, chestnut, mulberry, acacia, as well as ex-wine, rye and Bourbon, Cognac and vermouth barrels.

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