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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Bunch o' Bimbers, Part Two

After three Bimbers featured in Monday's post, another three Bimbers (plus a Bimber that's not a Bimber) will be consumed today. Again the pours are ~15mL, so I'll continue to use grade ranges.

I'm not sure how this sort of thing works, but my friend Secret Agent Man received four whisky samples from Bimber's US importer for a Zoom tasting. At the end of the tasting, Man gave me the remainders. Thank you, Man!!!

Though the official session's tasting order escapes me, here's the order I'm going with:

Apogee XII 12 year old blended malt
Bimber ex-bourbon casks, batch 3
Bimber Klub release 2, Vino de Naranja casks
Bimber USA release, Oloroso finish, cask #250/1

You may notice two things here. Firstly, the Bimbers still don't have age statements. Secondly, WTF is Apogee? Bimber distillery is less than eight years old.

Apogee XII 12 year old Blended Malt, 46.8%abv

Though, Apogee is bottled by Bimber, it does not contain Bimber single malt. Instead it's a vatting of 12 year old malts from two Speyside distilleries, finished in ex-Bimber casks.

It's a very simple whisky. The nose starts with lemons, citrons, and barley, as almond extract lingers around the edges. Brown ale and vanilla start the palate, followed by toasted barley and a leafy bitterness. It finishes with vanilla and malt.

I'm curious as to why Bimber bottled this, and I'm not sure what this was supposed to be an apogee of. Does Apogee serve as a 12yo target for their own single malt? Or was it to demonstrate how their 4 year old stuff is better than 12 year old scotch? It doesn't even seem "on brand". What it is is a decent $40 whisky selling for $120.

Grade range: C+/B- (around 79-80)

Bimber Ex-Bourbon Casks Edition, batch 3, 5000 bottles, 51.6%abv

The most complex Bimber nose I've yet sniffed. Orange peels and maraschino cherries meet ocean brininess and a bit of dirty hay. Cinnamon candy appears later on. The palate is yeasty, floral, and very sweet. Bitter citrus in the middle, the cinnamon candy in the back. It finishes warm and tooth-achingly sweet.

This whisky probably nudges ahead of Monday's single bourbon cask, which was the best of that trio. The sugar keeps this one from ascending, so my naïve thought is the whisky needed more time to calm down and gain complexity. Ay, there's the rub. I hate being that guy again, but......this stuff at 6-8 years......ya know?

Grade range: B- (around 81-83)

Bimber Klub release 2, Vino de Naranja Casks, 2100 bottles, 50.2%abv

The Klub is the official Bimber......club. Vino de naranja is orange peel-macerated Spanish white wine. And the abv looks mighty good. That's all I've got.

The nose doesn't start as expected. Pencil graphite and dead leaves show up first, then the cinnamon candy, then hints of Midori liqueur and kiwis. Buzzing along in a different direction, the palate offers white chocolate, limes, grapefruit bitters, and lots of bitterness, with a dash of ash in the back. It finishes with the graphite, sweet oranges, and a hint of tartness.

A bit crazier than this week's other Bimbers, this one works (possibly) because it didn't spend too many years in the vino de naranja casks. It's still a par-baked baby whisky, but it could have gone fugly in its adolescence. Like the best of us! Anyway, this is a cool curiosity bottled at a good strength.

Grade range: B- (around 81-83)

Bimber USA release, Oloroso finish, cask #250/1, 342 bottles, 58.2%abv

A pleasant mix of oak spice, dried apricots, and dandelions greets the nose, followed by cinnamon candy and milk chocolate. As with actual oloroso, not much sweetness appears in the whisky's palate. Instead, salt, toasted mixed nuts, and nutmeg hold the foreground, with grapefruit behind. It finishes with dates, pistachios, and a tart touch.

Bimber picked a good oloroso (hoggie?) cask here and didn't overdo things, leading to my favorite Bimber so far. It's as close to a complete whisky as I've had from them. I would even consider approaching a bottle for near $100, though it's selling for 50-100% more.

Grade range: B-/B (around 83-85)

I'll end this Bimber party on a high note. The one characteristic tying this trio together was cinnamon candy, a note I frequently find in some types of American white dog, which is telling. Bimber is very young whisky. It appears to be approaching some successful years, so I'll wait at least thirty moons before trying it again.