[Review] Bimber - Sample Set

When you think about whisky, what country comes to your mind? Scotland, of course, the USA, Ireland, yes, but would you think England? Probably not. However, as I discovered with many other countries (France included!) there is whisky produced in England as well. In my experience however, not all English whisky is that great yet. The only one I have actually enjoyed is the whisky produced by the Cotswolds distillery.

A few weeks ago, I got a message on my Instagram profile from a communications agency inviting me to visit a new distillery in London which had just past the 3 year mark in their whisky production. This distillery was Bimber. I had never heard of them before and asked for more information as getting down to London was not easy. A few days later. I found a parcel at my door with a very neat tasting set inside. And after a few busy weeks, I finally managed to find time today to sit down and get these 6 seals broken.

Before I get into the samples in detail, what about Bimber? Bimber means 'moonshine' in Polish. And why a Polish name? Simply because is was set up in West London in 2015 by Dariusz Plazewski and Ewalina Chruszczyk who emigrated from Poland in 2003. The first casks were filled on 26/05/2016 and so on 26/05/2019 they were legally allowed to call their spirit, whisky. The website promises their "Single Malt is going to be a new style of highly drinkable whisky, light, accessible, fruity and handcrafted with passion."
Their Concerto and Laureate barley is produced in a single farm in Hampshire. It is malted on a floor dedicated to Bimber at Warminster Maltings, Britain oldest maltster. Their fermentation process lasts 7 days and they have their own cooperage on site. This suggests that the whole process was thought through methodically to get the best quality product possible. Definitely looking good for the future.

So what about my samples?

The first sample is Bimber's new make spirit. This sample was drawn from batch 145 and it is 60%:

Nose: Clean and fruity, barley, caramel notes. Some pears, grapes, banana, biscuits and toffee cake.

Palate: Rich and round with a nice fruitiness, cherries, barley, brown sugar, milk chocolate and raspberries. It is not really harsh for a 60% un-aged spirit.

Finish: Very pleasant, malty and sweet. 

A very promising start!

Moving on to the peated new make spirit.This one is from batch 140 and again it is 60%:

Nose: Freshly peated barley sweetness with herbal hints (coriander)

Palate: The first thing to hit my tongue is parsley. There are some citrus notes and some ashy peat smoke. It is rather delicious for a new make! The peat isn't too in your face either! 

Finish: Sweet and smoky barley

Let's get started with the first sample of single malt. This one was aged in an ex-bourbon barrel for 3 years. It comes from batch 001 and is 51.2% abv:

Nose: Very bourbon-like nose with fruit, vanilla, caramel sweetness, some cedar wood and confectionery notes. And this is 3 years old? Wow!

Palate: Sweet, vanilla, cherries and wood (both oak and resinous / cedar). Mouth watering!

Finish: Warming, fruity, rich with prunes and some resinous wood notes still around.

The second whisky sample was aged in virgin oak. This is drawn from batch 001 and is 53.1% abv:

Nose: First impression is spicy and dusty with some vague sweetness. After a little while, the sweetness becomes more obvious with some linseed oil, rich dark fruit. It is quite fragrant / floral and woody.

Palate: Sweet and spicy, nice woody notes (sandalwood), pine notes, sweet toffee, vanilla, dark fruit again, milk chocolate, cherries and prunes. The initial spice turns into more sweetness.

Finish: Spicy and fruity, mulled cider with vanilla and a hint of clove.

Again this is very good for a 3 year-old single malt!

The third single malt was aged in ex-sherry casks. It is from batch 001 and bottled at 51.9%:

Nose: Wow! Dark and rich. Burnt caramel, plums, blackberry jam, black cherry jam, rubber and some tar. Brown sugar comes through after a few moments, with dark chocolate, burnt toast, vanilla, sticky toffee pudding, some cinnamon biscuits and soy sauce. What a complex mix. I could stay in that glass forever!

Palate: The palate is not as dark as the nose. I actually get some new make on the arrival before some sweet fruity notes take over and the richness reappears. Plums, prunes, cherries, raisins, some licorice, caramel, vanilla and a little cedar wood. 

Finish: Warm, fruity, brown sugar, pine wood. Pretty lasting! 

That's a fantastic dram. Give it a little longer in the cask to help with the arrival and you'll near perfection for me!

The last sample was aged in re-charred barrels. It is from batch 001 and 51.9%: 

Nose: A little spice akin to the virgin oak at first and not too sweet. Pine and cedar wood notes, a little vanilla and burnt caramel, hints of aniseed, herbal.It needs a bit of time in the glass for the fruity sweetness to appear. It is quite fragrant with some citrus hints.

Palate: Very fresh on the palate, herbal, still some youth here with some grappa / new make notes in the mid-palate, pine notes and a little sharpness.

Finish: More sweetness here, vanilla and toffee with hints of spice. Not as lasting as the sherry one.

What a treat to have been able to taste some samples from Bimber distillery and when I said above, the process had been thought through to get the best quality possible, I must say it is mission accomplish. These samples, from the new make to the ex-sherry cask ooze quality.
If I had to make a choice, I would put the Virgin oak and the ex-sherry first. The Virgin oak can be drunk as is now. the ex-sherry is an absolute monster but I still feel a little longer in wood could help it even further (and maybe smooth the arrival on the palate out). The ex-bourbon would be an amazing easy 'everyday' drinking single malt. The only one I felt was showing its age a little too much was the re-charred. 
The last thing I want to mention is how excited I am about the peated new make. There was no peated single malt sample in the set, and I'll be looking forward to catching some in the future!

Well done Dariusz, Ewalina and your team for such fantastic single malts and I am sure the Bimber future will be bright!


For more information: https://www.bimberdistillery.co.uk


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