Bimber distillery is a new craft distillery located in London (yes, London!). If you’ve never heard of this wee distillery, here’s some background info. Bimber means moonshine in Polish, and when you look at the founder’s of the distillery it’s easy to see why :
Bimber was set up by Darius and Ewelina who emigrated from Poland to London in 2003 and created a successful business in West London. Darius’s passion for whisky and distilling were always at the forefront of his mind, and when the opportunity arose to establish a whisky distillery in 2015, he knew he had to go for it. Darius has distilled spirits Poland with his grandfather back in the communist era Poland , so he was quite experienced in distilling (mostly moonshining back then).
You got to love Bimber as they are distilling whisky the ‘proper’ way :
- Using ONLY Local single farm English Barley
- Using traditional floor malting [at the Warminster Maltings ] where a whole floor is dedicated to bimber malting.
- Very slow fermentation of 7 days
- Direct fired pot stills and slow distillation process ( The first distillation takes place in Doris, a 1000-litre wash still, which produces a low-strength, 33% abv spirit called ‘low wines’. These are then re-distilled a second time in Astrea, a small, 600-litre spirit still.)
- On site Cooperage
Sounds cool doesn’t it? But how’s the liquid you ask? The very first edition was distilled in 2016 and matured in five first-fill Pedro Ximénez casks for three years ( Pedro Ximénez casks #6, 19, 31, 37, 38), for a total of 1,000 bottles.
Bimber – The First Release 2016 , 54,2%
Nose: Very sweet and rich, with lots of apple tarts and caramelized apples in syrup up front, all engulfed in rich sweet and buttery dough, pastries, and a hint of dried fruit as well (sultana , apricot). There’s a mushroom-y note as well , think of it as old dunnage warehouses or wet old casks if you will, some leather and more red fruit. This does not feel like a young 3 year old whisky on the nose.
Palate: Very clean and lovely – more of the sweet dried fruit, orange marmalade, sultana and chocolate, with the old sherry wood notes here as well adding to the complexity. Leather, wood spices (clove, cinnamon ,allspice) and the deep musty note is also present here. This my friends, certainly does not feel young. Very good indeed.
Finish : Wood spices, candied orange, lingering chocolate.
Conclusion : This is an impressive first edition! What a great young whisky. This does not feel young at all, the distillate is clean and lovely, and does not display any of the ‘funk’ that some EU whiskies end up showing sometimes . Certainly Bimber are doing it right. It’s quite a small batch , and the old PX casks did very well. I wonder how the next editions will stack up? At any rate, if you can get your hands on a bottle (originally sold for £120, and now sold out obviously) – do not hesitate.
I will be keeping an eye on this wee exciting distillery, I suggest you do the same.