Since I visited in late 2016, Bimber have opened the doors of their relatively small North Acton distillery to the public, allowing everyone to get to know this forward-thinking company that, nonetheless, still respects its past. In homage to its Polish heritage, Bimber produce a wide range of vodkas, including a number of fruit-infused versions. However, these are a cut above the homely Polish home-brew from which Bimber gets its name, as their host of awards – including several medals from this year’s inaugural Bartender’s Brand Awards – testify.
However, ambitious Bimber have got their sights set firmly on the future – just like the eagle on their logo, taken from the Polish coat of arms but inverted to look right and forwards, rather than left and to the past. In particular, they are determined to be one of the first London distilleries to produce a Single Malt Whisky in over a century, and their first batches will be bottled from June 2019.
However, it is, of course, the gin that really interests me! Bimber’s gin is a London Dry; called so not due to the distillery’s location, but because it complies with a lengthy list of regulations, including that it must contain no artificial ingredients and have nothing but water added after distillation (and, if desired, a minuscule amount of sugar). Bimber’s own (four-times distilled) wheat vodka forms the base of their gin, into which ten botanicals – juniper, cassia bark, angelica root, cinnamon bark, coriander seed, orris root, nutmeg, liquorice root and orange and lemon peel – are macerated prior to distillation in Astraeus, their 600-litre traditional copper pot still. And after that, only water is added to bring the ABV down to 42%, prior to bottling and labelling which also all takes place on site.
On the nose, Bimber’s London Dry is pretty traditional, with plenty of juniper upfront followed by peppery notes and a touch of spice. The juniper continues to dominate when tasted neat, alongside warming spices and a pleasurable pepper bite on the long finish. This strikes me as gin that’s made for tonic and, with a citrus garnish and Indian Fever-Tree, this does not disappoint. A pleasingly dry and earthy gin and tonic, with plenty of body from cinnamon and nutmeg, this has just a touch more depth than more traditional London Dry gins but still remains true to its name and nature.
Having acquired – but not yet consumed – Bimber’s range of vodkas when I visited the distillery, I couldn’t resist trying the Bram-ber cocktail featuring their London Dry Gin, Summer Fruit Infused Vodka and lemon juice. A sharp yet fruity refreshing little drink, this is one I’m sure I’ll be revisiting on warmer days.
Bimber’s London Dry Gin is not exactly breaking new ground, but in a world where “fake gin” is facing a backlash, this is undoubtedly a real, juniper-led gin, traditionally made to the highest standards. And not just made in-house, but bottled and labelled in-house too. I know because I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And if you get the chance you should too.
Purchase Bimber London Dry Gin from The Whisky Exchange at £32.95 for 70cl (42%ABV).
With thanks to Fuja Communications for the complimentary bottle of Bimber London Dry Gin.