East London distillery reveals plans for rye whisky

East London Liquor Company

A distillery in east London has begun work on producing its first whisky, planning to release London Rye in 2018.

East London Liquor Company, which was set up in Victoria Park last year (pictured), will create spirit with 42% rye and 58% malted barley and mature it in former bourbon barrels of American and European oak.

Using barrels carefully chosen by head distiller Tom Hills and distiller Andrew Mooney, the 40% ABV whisky is expected to have flavours of oak, caramel and vanilla, typical of bourbons, and the spicy notes of rye.

The distillery will also be releasing some very limited quantities of single malt aged in a variety of barrels.

The detail and design of the 70cl bottles will reflect the brand’s historical heritage, which includes an upside-down horse that has become a symbol of the brand. The 2018 release will mark 110 years since the closure of Lea Valley Distillery – the last producer of whisky in London.

Since July last year, the East London Liquor Company has produced over 15,000 bottles of its London Dry gin and 9,000 bottles of its smooth grain vodka.

They were inspired by the success of boutique distilleries in the USA and an ambition to revive London’s rich heritage of spirits production in the East End. For the whisky, they are using locally sourced ingredients from Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick, north-east London, along with pale ale malt from Germany.

Alex Wolpert, founder of East London Liquor Company, said: “After the unexpected resurgence of rye whisky in the USA and the increased appetite for this spirit in London, we decided to start producing a UK rye whisky matured in bourbon barrels.

“We are both excited and proud to add the London Rye whisky to our portfolio. More than a century later, history is repeating itself as we are bringing rye whisky production back to east London.”

Bartender Mikey Pendergast, who is head of product development at East London Liquor Company, added: “Rye whisky inspires many bartenders to get creative with their libations. Thanks to its versatility and spiciness in flavour, the spirit has plenty to offer discerning drinkers.”

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