At the end of November 2022, Bimber distillery introduced this inaugural peated single malt whisky. It is a combination of four ex-bourbon casks. The whisky was distilled in May 2019 with a ppm of 14.4 in the final product. They choose to mention the in-bottle ppm, contrary to almost every other distillery, simply because they claim it is the only objective measurement for what’s in your glass (read this). While certainly a good point, it doesn’t make it any easier to compare expressions accross producers.
The barley for Bimber The 1st Peated comes from their own farm (Fordham & Allen in Hampshire). The barley is steeped three times over 40 hours before turned every eight hours over five days. Then it is dried with a combination of dry and wet peat.
Bimber The 1st Peated (54,1%, OB 2022, 1140 btl.)
Nose: cold and damp cigarette smoke, if that makes sense, with some unexpected coastal side to it. Dried seaweed, a few dusty notes and lots of charcoal notes. Hints of cigar boxes and burnt mint leaves. Underneath there are sweet orchard fruits and hints of citrus zest. Even a hint of pineapple juice appears. Then something of wet cardboard as well, but it fits this profile.
Mouth: an interesting style of smoke that I can’t relate to other distilleries. Some of the early peated Benriach bottlings spring to mind – it’s not a heavy hitter I’d say. Then quite some bright lemony notes, followed by Granny Smith but also hints of icing sugar with lemon. Then a hint of dark chocolate appears, with tobacco and wood char. Some herbal notes come out too. A nice gradual evolution towards darker flavours.
Finish: medium length, more warming now, with crushed peppercorns, cigar boxes and a refreshing gingery note.
While the youth is easy to note, it’s clear that Bimber master the art of distilling by now. The peat level is moderate, yet there’s a nice combination of fresher notes and darker flavours. We’ll keep an eye on this. On the other hand it’s not exactly cheap, which is understandable for an inaugural release, maybe later batches will be more accessible. All bottles were sold through a weighted ballot.