A sneak preview to Bimber Distillery's line-up...

Bimber Distillery is distilling spirits in West London since May 2016 using two alembic style direct fired pot stills made in Portugal very much like the ones we have seen during our visit to Sonoma County Distilling back in 2017. Their wash still has a capacity of 1000 liters and the spirit still 600. Although the distillery released an array of unaged and flavored spirits like gin, vodka and rum in the last three years they actually are gearing up for their first whisky releases... The founders of the distillery were experimenting both with peated and not peated barley and using a wide variety of different casks for quite a while and getting ready to release their first whisky this coming Fall so far I know.

I am lucky enough to have their new makes as well as a few samples pulled from different casks on my desk now and ready to start to go through all of them in one sitting to write down some notes, compare and share. How did I get my hands on this tasting set..? Our dear friend Ronnie Grant handed me this tasting kit from the distillery during Campbeltown Malts Festival this May and said: "There are nice people..." What a great introduction..! After more than two months finally today I could take a whole day to sit down and go through the whole line-up. Thank you very much Ronnie..! And without further ado, let's get started...

New Make Batch No: 146 (60.0%):

Color: N/A

Nose: Dry malt, unripe Concorde pears and pumpkin seeds. It gets maltier with a few drops of water. Sourdough bread and baker's yeast. 

Palate: White pepper, unsweetened cider and bubblegum. Very warming towards the end. Adding water takes the heat off a little. Now some tongue tingling green pepper, dandelion leaves and chamomile tea notes.

Finish: Long with tree sap and gum.

Overall: Very clean and rounded.

New Make Peated Batch No: 140 (60.0%):

Color: N/A

Nose: Medicine cabinet, gauze pads and rubber hose. Burnt plastic and Bunsen burner. After adding water: Coal gas, new car tires and ashtray.

Palate: Ash, black pepper and plastic food containers. More approachable after adding a few drops of water: Bonfire, wet soot and diesel oil.

Finish: Long with ash and rubber.

Overall: The peated new make is definitely way more interesting than the non-peated one. But aren't they always..? It is kinda dirty with coal gas, ash and soot and also very medicinal.

Cask No: 15 Ex-Bourbon (55.0%):

Color: Copper, medium amber with barely moving teardrops all around the glass. Looks very oily...

Nose: Baked apple tart, cinnamon and cloves. Actually this is a nose we are very familiar with from American craft distilleries. Green wood, baking spices and toasted oak. Furniture polish and apple brandy.

Palate: Yep, it is very crafty. Wonder how small the casks are because I am getting all the notes affiliated with those tiny casks American craft distillers are using: Charred wood, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Apple butter and applejack. Sweet, spicy and actually very easy going despite its high abv.

Finish: Short but intense...Starts big but declines rapidly with charred oak, cinnamon and poached apples.

Overall: With young spirits with this much cask influence it is very hard to say what they actually are: This could be easily an applejack, rye whisky, bourbon or malt whisky like in this case and we wouldn't be able to tell the difference at all. It is tasty but very sweet and very much soaked in wood and baking spices.

Cask No: 7 Virgin Oak (57.1%): 

Color: A tad darker than the ex-bourbon cask, dark copper. This time legs are moving faster but they look as oily as they were before.

Nose: I was expecting even a more intense nose but it is not the case here. Quince paste and sweet molasses. Cinnamon and cloves are there again but this time it is more doughy. Cinnabons, ginger and molasses cookies and maple sugar candies.

Palate: Spicy like a young rye whisky... Allspice, cumin seeds and cinnamon. Angostura bitters, honey roasted nuts and bourbon pecan pie. Nuttier and less fruity compared to the ex-bourbon cask.

Finish: Still on the shorter side but this one echoes more with sweet cinnamon, crystallized ginger and whole cloves.

Overall: I was very concerned about the cask influence after the previous sample considering this cask being made from virgin oak but I was totally wrong. This looks like it is maturing in a larger cask than the ex-bourbon one. I might be making the whole thing up but in the end it is definitely a way better developing spirit. Liked it...

Cask No: 26 Ex-Sherry (PX) (57.1%):

Color: Almost identical to the virgin oak cask but the legs are a little slower.

Nose: Olive brine, balsamic vinegar and molasses. A little muted at this abv. With water some leathery and earthy aromas evolve: Old leather jackets and black gardening soil. Cooked prunes, raisins and Zante currants. Beef stew... Quite savory compared to the other two samples I tasted before.

Palate: Wet tobacco, PX sherry (duh...) and old decaying leather upholstery. It almost tastes like some PX sherry is added to the cask. Sherry soaked raisins, aged plum brandy and grape molasses. Strong toasted oak notes... Very dry and a very intriguing spirit.

Finish: Medium long and gently fading. Plum brandy, raisins and grape molasses.

Overall: It resembled aged plum brandies (which I am a big fan of) very much. Very fruity, dry and savory. A little too much sherried for my taste but the spirit started to show its potential with this sample. Very promising... I can see that a little less sherry influence but a longer maturation period can lead to a very amazing product for them in near future.

Cask No: 38 Ex-Sherry (55.4%):

Color: The darkest of the bunch but only by a very small amount. Medium - dark amber, orange blossom honey. The legs are very thick and very slow.

Nose: I am very liking this one: Touch of sulphur, red wine vinegar and sour cherry juice. It is tart and luscious... 

Palate: This tastes almost like a properly aged whisky: Four berries jam, cranberry juice and raspberry iced tea. Rhubarb tart, aged tawny port and strawberry cream puffs.

Finish: Long with port and strawberry jam.

Overall: I think we have a winner here... This is an incredibly impressive spirit considering its age. Great cask management...


Thanks again to Ronnie for the samples..!