Bimber whisky has arrived in the Highlands
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It’s usually around this time of year my sister Karen starts checking in on my Christmas shopping progress.
She is generally much more organised at this time of year, whereas I am consistently laid back about Christmas shopping. That is until I see Amazon can no longer deliver in time for Christmas and have to beg her to go halfers on presents.
Karen lives in London and always brings home an array of treats from the likes of Harrods and Fortnum & Masons and I’m left in charge of sorting out the Christmas booze. This year I’m hoping Karen’s suitcase might be a bit heavier than normal and feature some whisky that has been produced just three miles from her flat in Chiswick!
Dariusz Plazewski and Ewelina Chruszczyk emigrated from Poland to London in 2003. Plazewski, the founder and master distiller, inherited his passion for whisky from his grandfather, who distilled his own spirits in Poland. Plazewski’s dream of setting up his own whisky distillery came to fruition in 2015 when the couple chose the unlikely location of Park Royal in London as the place where Bimber would start its life.
With hefty start-up costs and a three-year wait for any spirit to officially become whisky, they created an impressive and diverse range of premium spirits – I could write another complete article on them but we are here to chat whisky.
Their production methods are meticulous, from selecting barley from a nearby farm in Hampshire to partnering with Britains’ oldest maltster, Warminster Maltings, which dedicates an entire malting floor to Bimber. From there they ferment for seven whole days which is more than double the industry average, sacrificing quantity for quality.
Even when it comes to adding the yeast, most distilleries use distillers' yeast but not Bimber, they use their own strain created just for them. Now, onto the stills, steam-heated? No, of course not. You’re starting to get the essence of Bimber. They use direct fire and distil slowly to increase interaction with the copper stills. Casks? If you are partial to a bet you would put a hefty wager on them having their own on-site cooperage – and you would be correct.
I’ve been excited about this distillery for a while now but with production so limited, bottles have been hard to come by as collectors stash them away for investment or put them to auction. I’m delighted to say we do have some Bimber in the Malt Room with more on its way. This not only pleases me but I’m sure Karen will be thrilled with the extra baggage space!
- Matt MacPherson is the founder and owner of the Malt Room in Inverness.