TOAD: The Oxford Artisan Distillery Tour Review.

After meeting Tom Nicolson and Giovanna Monteiro at the Keeper’s Bar and Kitchen Launch on 29th March, I was invited to attend the 90 minute Founder’s Tour at TOAD Gin Distillery.
What is TOAD Gin? Well TOAD stands for The Oxford Artisan Distillery. TOAD is situated in Oxford’s South park and is a pleasant 30 minute walk from Oxford city centre. While it is only a short taxi ride, I thoroughly enjoyed my walk through the city centre and the country roads looking for the distillery.
There are two tours available at TOAD, a 45 minute Standard Tour for £20 or a 90 minute Founders Tour for £50. I strongly recommend shelling out the extra £30 for the Founders Tour – it means more gin and more insight into the journey from conception all the way to bottle! One of the founders themselves will spend time teaching guests how they source the ingredients and the work that goes into making TOAD vodka, gin, absinthe and rye whiskey. Afterwards there is an extended tasting session, taking you through all our different spirits and finishing with a large gin and tonic.
I was welcomed to the distillery with a welcome Gin and Tonic which was greatly appreciated after my walk. Tagore Ramourtar was the founder giving our tour and he was extremely knowledgeable about TOAD. No wonder as he is a co-founder and director.
During the tour we learnt how, Founder Tom and Master Distiller Cory decided from the outset that TOAD would be different. Not only are they are a truly sustainable craft distillery, they are the only distillery in the world to be using ancient populations heritage grain, all sustainably grown exclusively for TOAD on organic farms within a 50 mile radius of their distillery. I’m not going to go into all the details because you definitely need to experience the tour yourself but a highlight (apart from tasting the delicious spirits is seeing the Stills.
The amazing Stills  (Nautilus and Nemo) were created by South Devon Railway Engineering and were designed to have some unique details such as the original porthole salvaged from an Indian decommissioned ship. They look like they’ve stepped off the set of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and are extremely impressive.
TOAD’s products include the Oxford Dry Gin, Ashmolean Gin, Oxford Botanic Garden – Physic gin, Oxford Pure Rye Spirit and Oxford Rye Vodka. I must say, all the spirit were pretty spectacular. We’ll have a full review of the Oxford Dry Gin on the site soon.
So what are you waiting for… visit TOAD during your next escape to Oxford. It’s a great way to learn more about their unique gin and enjoy more than a few G&T’s. It’s makes drinking more educational… so why wouldn’t you.

Written by Tegan LeBon

First photo by Tegan LeBon, other photos provided by TOAD And Katie Spicer Photography