With a new batch of our Ex-bourbon Small Batch London single malt whisky just around the corner, today we’re spending some time looking at why this small, but mighty cask type is integral to Bimber’s house style.
The ex-bourbon barrel is a real workhorse of the global whisky industry. However, it is often viewed in these same modest terms. As a 'standard'. As the norm. But, similarly to whisky as a liquid itself, modesty is often extremely underappreciated. And this is especially the case when it comes to the combination of Bimber’s spirit with an American oak ex-bourbon cask. Sherry, wine and myriad esoteric wood styles will often turn heads, but the humble ex-bourbon cask often offers far more versatility than other cask styles. Ex-bourbon wood leaves ample room for the profile of the distillate (aka the distillery character) to shine through. That is not to say that this cannot be the case with other wood types - just that the inherent properties of ex-bourbon casks are, all other things being equal, better suited to most spirit styles in terms of promoting the charisma of the make as much as the influence of the wood. Each distillery has its own preferences for cask types and whilst Bimber has developed a broad and growing inventory of cask styles, we still (and always will) favour ex-bourbon as our 'house style'. Through careful toasting and charring of these American white oak casks, we're able to perfectly marry our spirit's natural fruit-forward character and textural mouthfeel with the inherent character that derives from the oak - sweetness and creaminess. And it is this combination, this meeting of influences, which defines much of the Bimber DNA that you taste today. Of course, whilst all of the ex-bourbon whiskies you've tasted from Bimber have been 1st fill casks, we're very mindful of balance - particularly over longer periods of maturation. The Bimber spirit is cut tightly and filled at 63.5% ABV - the perfect combination for high and profound extraction levels. That being the case, we're conscious of the impact of the wood vs. the character of the spirit - and this is why you'll see casks with white painted heads when you visit our distillery. These are refill Bimber casks, and it'll be these which will be utilised for older Bimber whiskies - at 12, 15 and 18 years +. Despite the increasing age, the lower levels of extraction possible from refill casks will ensure that the profile of Bimber’s spirit remains as the beating heart of our whisky no matter the level of maturity.
We’ll shortly be announcing the global release of Ex-bourbon Batch 4 – and it’ll not only be our largest release to date – it’ll also be the oldest Small Batch single malt whisky we’ve created. Plenty of Bimber love to go around everyone!
We’re looking forward to both existing Bimber fans and those newer to our London single malt cracking open their bottles and sharing their tasting notes and photos online soon.