Bimber Distillery was founded in 2015 and started producing their first spirit in May 2016. The distillery is based in a warehouse in an unprepossessing corner of North Acton in northwest London but was making waves in the whisky scene even before the release...
Bimber Distillery was founded in 2015 and started producing their first spirit in May 2016. The distillery is based in a warehouse in an unprepossessing corner of North Acton in northwest London but was making waves in the whisky scene even before the release of their inaugural single malt whisky in September 2019. Bimber's distillery’s capacity may be tiny - only around one ex-bourbon barrel per day can be filled - but the ethos is purely quality-focused and the results have far exceeded expectations.
Stills: 1 Wash 1 Spirit
Water Source: Thames Basin
Capacity: 42,000 LPA
Owners: Independently owned (Dariusz Plazewski)
An independently-owned and operated distillery, every part of the single malt whisky production process at Bimber is done using traditional methods - the distillery sources high quality barley from a Hampshire farm, which is then traditionally floor-malted. Bimber’s malt is crushed rather than milled and undergoes temperature-controlled fermentation for a whole week in homemade wooden washbacks using Bimber’s own specially-designed proprietary yeasts.
These processes are all performed with the goal of producing a clear wort with the highest possible esters, which gives the best chance of producing a high quality fruity spirit after distillation. Bimber run their very small direct-fired alembic stills extremely slowly to produce a full-bodied distillate, discarding the foreshots and feints instead of redistilling them, as is the common practice elsewhere.
In contrast to many other new distillery startups, Bimber are not in thrall to wood finishes or exotic wine casks, instead using mostly ex-bourbon casks to mature their whisky, with a small proportion of virgin oak and genuine ex-sherry casks. The distillery also has its own cooperage to keep incoming casks in good repair, or to recooper as necessary.
Bimber’s small size and huge success have led founder Dariusz Plazewski to seek to expand - plans are already afoot to relocate the Bimber distillery to a larger site within London, and in July 2021 the company announced that they had received planning permission for a new 200,000 litre capacity Scottish distillery at Dunphail near Forres in Speyside, just a few miles south from the closed Dallas Dhu distillery. Construction is due to start at Dunphail in 2022, with hopes that distillation will begin later the same year.
With such a small capacity, bottles of Bimber’s English single malt whisky are generally quite difficult to come by. A great many single casks have been released for different markets globally, but are generally snapped up on release - the best bet for someone looking to find a bottle of Bimber are the small batch releases, of which there have been several from Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Oloroso Sherry, as well as a Peated Cask release finished in ex-Islay whisky casks.
As well as whisky, Bimber also produce a small number of gins infused with exotic botanicals - the high strength Bimber Da Hong Pao Tea Gin, infused with a rare Japanese Oolong tea, is particularly excellent.