I was hoping to try the brand new Bimber bottlings for La Maison Du Whisky at Whisky Live Paris back in October, especially since the Bimber booth was really close to Dingle’s, where I was working once again. Regrettably, LMDW had reserved them for their exclusive stand in the VIP section, and my schedule didn’t allow me to visit. Therefore, from the coziness of my whisky room, let’s explore a couple of Bimber single casks bottled last year specifically for LMDW’s Antipodes collection.
Bimber Collection Antipodes / Unpeated Review
The first Bimber out of the two I could try from the Antipodes series was distilled in 2018, and has been matured in a Bourbon cask. It then spent an additional 9 months in an ex-Pedro Ximenez cask, numbered 16/319. There are 321 bottles in this release, bottled at cask strength, with a robust 57.8% ABV. As usual with Bimber, there was no chill filtration nor additional colouring. These bottles are still available in France, from €135 up to €153 at LMDW themselves.
Neat: Intensely aromatic with notes of glue, kumquat, an Asian fruit I cannot remember the name (sure that helps you), artificial apricot flavouring, sandalwood, and cedar. The nose is unique and unconventional, featuring a hint of lip balm.
With water: Some solvent notes emerge, along with an increase in ethanol. However, the addition of water doesn’t enhance the overall experience, as the pure alcohol aroma becomes more prominent, overshadowing other nuances.
Neat: The palate begins with a fruity arrival, accompanied by a syrupy mouthfeel, followed by a subtle chili heat. Flavours include pineapple, grape juice, brown sugar caramel, toasted wood, sandalwood, white pepper, and a yogurt cake made with apricot-flavored yogurts. The mouthfeel thickens rapidly, with a slight drying effect. Raw, unrefined brown sugar notes emerge.
With water: The addition of water brings out sweetness, highlighting notes of orange juice, intensified chili, tabasco, a hint of nutmeg, and concluding with milk chocolate undertones.
The finish is characterized by unrefined brown sugar, the lingering taste of apricot yogurt cake, notes of grenadine syrup, and a subtle presence of cedar. It has a medium-long duration.
The nose is enjoyable and entertaining, particularly with its distinct character. I find that this Bimber is more satisfying when enjoyed neat on both the nose and palate. The pricing, unfortunately, seems too high – a sentiment directed towards LMDW.
Bimber Collection Antipodes Peated Review
The second Bimber is a bit younger and features a peated profile. Distilled in 2019, it was placed in a bourbon hogshead and bottled in 2022 exclusively for LMDW as part of its Antipodes collection. This release comprises 245 bottles from cask 461, boasting a robust 60.9% Vol. It retains its natural state, being non-chill filtered and without added colouring. Still available between €155 and €158, La Maison du Whisky being the most expensive once again.
Neat: Initial notes of citrus, followed by the aroma of a damp forest post-heavy rain. The peat, likely from the highlands, is moderate and leans towards a vegetal character.
With water: The introduction of water brings forth scents of smoke, dry wood, and candied orange zest.
Neat: The palate begins with a warm sensation, featuring citrusy spices, subtle salty undertones, toasted oak, dark coffee, and hints of mandarin.
With water: Adding water intensifies the spice and smoke elements, along with an increased presence of wood. Flavours of orange zest and grapefruit also appear.
The finish features lingering citrusy bitterness and woodiness, accompanied by a subtle smoke, reminiscent of cigarette ashes. It has a medium length.
It seems slightly less intricate than the unpeated variant. While still enjoyable, the palate is primarily characterized by citrusy and smoky notes. I appreciated the autumnal ambiance conveyed by the nose. However, the pricing appears steep, especially in comparison to the initial peated release. While the latter may not have been a single cask, its significance as Bimber’s first-ever peated whisky, presented in an elegant black bottle, adds considerable value in contrast. Back to the whisky, this Bimber and The 1st Peated both showed promises with peated Bimbers, and I can’t wait to try some that got a couple more years under their belt.
Thank you Renaud!