Bimber debuts first peated whisky

by Alice Brooker

London-based Bimber Distillery has introduced its inaugural peated single malt whisky, made using four ex-Bourbon casks.

The bottling, called 1st Peated, is crafted from a marriage of four heavily peated American oak ex-Bourbon barrels, and is entirely made from from the distillery’s earliest fully peated distillation that took place in May 2019. Founder and master distiller Dariusz Plazewski said: “The team and I are truly thrilled to be able to share The 1st Peated with whisky lovers. This release represents a major milestone on the continued journey of Bimber and of our single malt London whisky. "Not only is it the culmination of several years of investigation and passion, but being entirely produced by-hand, in-house – it is also truly embodies our continued dedication to traditional production methods.” The barley used to make 1st Peated has been sourced from Bimber’s single farm (Fordham & Allen in Basingstoke, Hampshire). The barley is steeped three times over 40 hours before being turned every eight hours over the subsequent five days. Following this, it is dried using a combination of dry and wet Aberdeenshire peat. The smoked grains are then mashed and fermented for seven days in the distillery’s washbacks, before being distilled. The 1st Peated is presented with an ‘in-bottle’ reading of 14.4 PPM (parts per million). Distillery spokesperson Matt McKay said: “For too long the debate about peat levels has been a race to the top. Producers have sought to display the biggest PPM numbers possible without ever trying to contextualise to customers what these numbers mean in terms of the actual peated character of a whisky once it is inside of a bottle. “Barley PPMs ignore the fact that at every stage of the whisky-making process there is a decrease in the volume of phenols present. They also ignore the large variations that distinct production methods across different distilleries have on this inevitable decline. "A 50 PPM barley utilised at one distillery will not directly equate to 50 PPM barley used by another. By presenting The 1st Peated with an in-bottle PPM we’re looking to kick-start a dialogue about PPMs which hopefully leads to a more considered reflection of what’s actually inside a bottle of whisky.” The 700ml bottle clocks in at 54.1%ABV, and retails for RRP £130 (US$154.88). It will be available through a weighted ballot from 28 November. Earlier this year, the distillery extended its Spirit of the Underground collection with the addition of four wine cask-matured single malts.

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