My only previous Bimber exposure was with their vodka & rum at last year’s  Rumfest [WLP]. I blagged this taster pack at last year’s TWE Show for a more considered evaluation away from the hubbub.
- N: Compared to Bimber’s rum & vodka, this has more going on from the off. It’s superbly clean yet reasonably complex though character-wise [on the nose at least], it’s not unlike many other spirits from the newest distilleries either side of the border. I also think it reminds me of Chalong Bay’s rum [WLP], but once I’ve compared it to their 100% sugarcane ‘Fine Spirit’, there’s little resemblance on the nose.
- T: Oh, that’s very good and incredibly palatable neat. We start with understated copper tones that lead to a light citric [lemon=grapefruit] bitterness and an almost creamy mouthfeel,… There’s lots going on here with a wide spectrum of flora & fauna flavours.
- F: Surprisingly sustaining with a mildly savoury sweet-to-bitter balance. I’m getting lavender, thyme, honeysuckle perhaps, many a complex lemon scented blend, a lemon-y [non-waxed] candle, Thai sweet basil [there’s the Chalong Bay likeness right there!],… soft & soggy white bread,….
- C: I’m not surprised they bottle this as it’s very pleasing to drink. A score is even in order. Let’s see how it fairs in wood.
Scores 79 points
Bimber 2yo Signature  Ob. Test Batch #001 Bourbon, PX & Virgin US oak 46% [5cl] WB88
- N: It’s not STR and I’m quite relieved, though there’s a likeness. Again it reminds me of some of the newest distilleries, Spirit of Yorkshire [WLP], being the closest perhaps. Profile-wise, we are looking at tempered resinous bourbon-y vanilla & fruity [pink bubblegum] confectionary, the casks doing nearly all the talking.
- T: More fresh wood here too. Style-wise, it’s very contemporary/SMWS and also rather Glen Scotia-esque – 93.105 [WLP] & Victoriana [WLP] bottlings springing to mind. More confectionary pink fruity candy occupies the taste plain, but does the new make come through? A little, but only because I just had it. After cleansing the palate, the new make is most certainly buried by the casks,….
- F: ,.. though eventually that bitter lemon and Thai wild basil comes back for an understated reprise!
- C: No doubt the ‘signature’ style will change year on year. For now I prefer the new make but at least here there’s something of it right at the end.
Scores 78 points
Bimber 2yo Sherry cask  Ob. Test Batch cask #31 63.2% [5cl]
- N: Pretty much all oloroso though it’s one lovely cask, and despite the abv strength, incredibly inviting.
- T: Again, a super clean seasoned oloroso cask. Adding water brings out some coppery earthy cocoa notes, a touch of fruity confectionary < sultanas and > > conserves, but this one remains all about that tasty conditioned cask.
- F: Short, clean and true with a sherry-syrup-ed barley sugar finish, but has the spirit survived?
- C: A lovely cask [scores many points]. The distillate struggles against the cask & its previous contents, but just about holds on in there.
Scores 81 points
Bimber 2yo Port cask  Ob. Test Batch cask #39 62.5% [5cl]
I like port and could drink more for the cause if needed. Port casks also definitely work for whisky, sometimes.
- N: This port cask offers confectionary fruits that sit somewhere in-between oloroso-matured whisky & Cognac/armagnac. I’m not that convinced by the result but at least the new make is present. I check – check! We’ve also faint sweet tobacco notes or is it slightly scorched raisins – whether from the spirit or cask I’m not sure.
- T: Again, the coppery new make makes it through with ease. Regardless of the soda pop-like profile, we certainly have balance.
- F: A coppery butyric finish, the underlying spirit present all the way to the end.
- C: Regardless of my subjective likes/dislikes, this one ticks some key boxes.
Scores 80 points
Bimber 2yo Bourbon cask  Ob. Test Batch cask #08 63.3% [5cl]
- N: This is a reseter. I pick up maracas: this and the new make. I see the resemblance but this bourbon cask has overruled. Descriptor-wise, resinous peppery vanilla.
- T: Same again. The spirit tries to rally but the cask soon dominates.
- F: Resinous bourbon-like traits, a touch clogged/butyric.
- C: New make spirit WAS harmed in the making of this, er, spirit. Still, this is really well made 2yo spirit Bimber – fantastic!
Scores 77 points
Bimber 2yo Virgin oak  Ob. Test Batch cask #07 62.3% [5cl]
- N: Why does this come across more like a bourbon than the bourbon cask-matured 2yo? The Foz nails it: Because a relatively neutral spirit has been aged for two years in a new American oak cask, just like a bourbon would. The only difference is the absence of corn!
- T: And indeed, we’ve a barley-based bourbon, though that bitter lemon note from the spirit does beneficially creep in.
- F: We are soon into the finish with a resinous & butyric vanilla pit of a conclusion, but the barley base gives a refreshingly lighter result to a corn mash bill.
- C: As an English barley-based bourbon, why not?
Scores 76 points
All good for the short-term. For the long-term, nothing much has changed for making great whisky. You put decent spirit into decent refills and wait!