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The number of the beast

Bimber The 1st Peated - will not only be our inaugural foray into fully peated single malt whisky, it will also be the first modern English whisky that has been produced from peated barley that has been fully crafted on-site by the producing distillery itself.

Whilst there are other peated English single malt whiskies on the market – all of them have been created from barley that has been peated off-site by a 3rd party maltster. The 1st Peated will stand alone as an expression shaped entirely by an English distillery themselves. No small feat!

Our peated malt began its journey at our single farm where 100% of our barley is grown. It was then floor malted and kilned using peat sourced from Aberdeenshire in Scotland – by hand, by us.

Initially steeped 3 times over 40 hours, over the next 5 days the barley was turned every 8 hours. It was then dried using aromatic peat in our custom-made kiln, which imbued pungent, aromatic smoke into the grains. It was then mashed and fermented slowly for seven days in our wooden washbacks before being unhurriedly distilled using the direct fire of our small copper pot stills.

The result takes our house style bright, fruity and textural London single malt whisky and permeates it with intense aromas of smouldering log fires and damp fragrant peat smoke.

So how peaty is The 1st Peated? Well, we’ve taken the decision to present Bimber The 1st Peated with an ‘in-bottle' PPM of 14.4 as we believe that for too long the debate about peating levels has all too often been a race to the top.

Producers have sought to display the biggest PPM numbers possible without contextualising what these means in terms of the either the character of a whisky or its actual drinking experience.

In nearly all cases, distilleries and producers are using PPM (parts per million) as a measurement to indicate the phenolic content of the malted barley after kilning, but before the actual whisky-making process. Notionally one would assume that the higher the PPM number, the peatier the whisky will taste. And in simple terms that’s not incorrect. However, barley PPMs ignore the fact that at every stage of the whisky-making process there is a reduction in the volume of phenols that are present.

From mashing, fermentation, through distillation and maturation – PPM levels drop over time. With such incredible variance across distilleries in terms of their processes, 50 PPM barley (which is the level we peated our barley to) utilised at one distillery will not present with the same final peaty character when it is processed at another. The actual level of phenols when in bottle will be far lower than the PPM spec of the barley – and it naturally varies from distillery to distillery.

Bimber The 1st Peated is indeed a heavily peated whisky, presenting a thick layer of ashy smoke that is perfectly integrated with our in-house fruity-forward style. However, rather than fixating on presenting you with the largest PPM numbers we can – we’re looking to kickstart a dialogue that conveys a more accurate reflection of what’s actually inside your bottle. We’re going against the industry grain on this – but you didn’t think we’d do it any other way did you?

Bimber The 1st Peated will be available via a weighted ballot from next Monday – sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to hear how to enter.


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