Bimber Nickolls & Perks 225th Anniversary Port Cask 5yo & Bimber WFFA


We're off down south to London, taking a look at probably the most popular English distillery to date...

Bimber Nickolls & Perks 225th Anniversary Port Cask 5yo

Region: England

ABV: 58.7%

Price: £110.00

Bottled to celebrate the 225th anniversary of Nickolls & Perks, this ex-Port cask was distilled in August 2016 and matured exclusively in an ex-Ruby Port cask for 5 years and 9 months.

Nose

Red fruits straight away - strawberry, red currants, cranberries, following into an earthiness that reminds us of freshly turned soil. The alcohol is a little bit much here, there’s an ethanol note in the background we’re not too keen on. We’re getting a weird note of fermenting cherries.. cherry brandy liquer? Also we’re finding warm baked pastries such as apple strudels. Going back we’re finding boiled down raisins and a hint of syrup.

Palate

Overly sweet red fruits hit us initially, following into some sour blackcurrants. It’s got depth, but a lot of it is woody with some ginger spice there too. It’s got a little too much bitter oak for us on the finish which lingers for a decent length. It’s also quite alcohol forward, we’re finding the balance to be somewhat out. It’s got a good enough mouth feel with some pink grapefruit and a little tinned pineapple in golden syrup.

Nose (with water)

It’s a little medicinal, we’re finding heavy cloves and aniseed on the initial nosing. The alcohol has receded and feels more in balance now, and we’re finding caramel that’s been taken slightly too far along with the earthiness we found before. Going back we’re getting a maple syrup infused latte and synthetic strawberry puree.

Palate (with water)

It’s richer now, deeper with more caramel, molasses and synthetic sugar akin to aspartame. There’s quite a lot of wood and bitter oak flavours coming through, with a hint of citrus and white pepper spice. The length of the finish is maintained, although it has more sweetness towards the end.

Conclusion

It’s quite a powerful dram, and the port influence can be immediately found on the nose and palate. It’s a little hot, but water brings out some richer flavours that can stand up to the spice. Overall we preferred it with water as it brought the dram more into harmony, but it does remove some of the port flavours, replacing them with more caramel and wood. £110 is a lot of a 5 year old whisky, so we’ll have to give it a 7.5/10, although it’s still a great dram.

Score: 7.5/10


Bimber WFFA

Region: London

ABV: 58.1%

Price: £7.50 (per dram, no bottle price available)

If you’re unaware “WFFA” stands for “Whisky Free For All.” It’s a secret Facebook group of friends, who occasionally come across an interesting cask for the group to bottle. This release was matured in a virgin oak cask.

Nose

Orange cream going into strawberry candies, but overall it’s little synthetic. It’s very creamy, with a background note of lightly toasted oak and a hint of treacle. We’re also getting some apples dipped in a light caramel. We’re finding this surprisingly mellow on the alcohol front, even at the 58% which is a pleasant surprise. Going back after a little air we’re finding milk chocolate and vanilla custard. It’s an active nose which makes us excited for the palate.

Palate

Lots of initial fruits on the palate - orange and apple, with a reasonably creamy mouthfeel. It then moves into caramel and toffee on the mid palate, giving lots of sweetness. The finish has quite a lot of ginger and pepper, with a medium to long length that leaves a tingle in the mouth. There’s a fair bit of alcohol on the palate, but there’s a lot of accompanying flavours that balance well with it. Going back we’re getting some aniseed, lemon peel and vanilla cream.

Nose (with water)

We’re finding more chocolate and bread on the nose - like someone spread Nutella over some toast. A lot of the fruit seems to be lost, but we’re getting salted caramel, peanut butter, Terrys chocolate orange and icing sugar.

Palate (with water)

It’s woodier now, but maintains a sweetness.. not a fruity sweetness but more of a richer, drier sugar. It’s got a little more spice, like chewing on cinnamon stick or a little raw ginger. We’re still getting some citrus and the finish maintains its length, but again, seems to have more spice lingering. We’re not convinced that water has helped, we prefer the original, fresher and fruiter flavours.

Conclusion

We’ve read that this is around 4 years old, and it’s a very impressive 4 year old whisky at that. It’s got good balance, a lot of fruit, sweetness and wood all meld together to make a very pleasant dram. There’s perhaps a little bit too much spice here for us, especially with water, but we’d happily nab a bottle if we could. 

Score: 8/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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