Ballot Opens Offering Special Tolkien Tipple Black Pine Whisky

The Oxford Artisan Distillery

The Tolkien-inspired Black Pine Whisky

The Oxford Botanic Garden is continuing to celebrate its 400th anniversary - and Hobbit Day - with a new limited edition whisky that has distinct Tolkien overtones.

Black Pine Whisky has been produced by The Oxford Artisan Distillery to celebrate Hobbit Day on September 22. It is inspired by what was sometimes referred to as ‘Tolkien’s Pine’, a Black Pine (Pinus nigra) which was one of J.R.R. Tolkien's favourite trees in the botanic garden and which is said to have inspired the Ents in his The Lord of the Rings. Planted in the 1830s, it was cut down in 2014 after major branch damage. The tree also appears towards the end of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

According to the distillery: "Black Pine Whisky is an ode to the essence of a pine forest. Fruity and woody, the complexity of the wood character shines through with hints of mint, pepper and cedar smoke."

A total of 400 bottles will be produced, each £150. Of these, 370 will come with a coaster made from the salvaged wood of the Tolkien Pine. A further 30, numbered and housed in a limited edition box made from the famous tree, will also be available via a ballot, bids for which open today at the Oxford Artisan Distillery site here and runs until September 22, Hobbit Day. Also included will be a limited edition print of the Black Pine tree by Oxford-based illustrator Stanley Donwood and a limited edition letterpress booklet.  

Donwood has also designed the label which, like the booklet, has been printed by the city's letterpress printer Richard Lawrence.

Although the original tree is no more, King Charles III (then Prince of Wales) planted a new Black Pine raised from a seed from the original tree in the botanic garden in 2021.

Introducing Black Pine Whisky from The Oxford Artisan Distillery on Vimeo.