Criminal-entrepreneur, the double life of the distiller behind London's trendiest whisky

Feb 15 2024, 13:47
For twenty years, he managed to build a new life in London and establish the Bimber distillery, producing exquisite single malt whisky. However, authorities have uncovered his secret, and now he is in prison awaiting extradition to Poland, accused of complicity in murder

He is one person, but he has two names, and he also has two lives: one, with the ID card under the name Lucasz Ratajewski, linked (as authorities from his home country accuse him) to Polish criminal activities, where he would be a true boss. In the other, he goes by Dariusz Plazewski and is a successful entrepreneur in London, where he founded the Bimber distillery, a pinnacle of British whisky with labels exceeding £2,000.

The Bimber: no issues

These two identities have created a short circuit summarized in the notice displayed on the homepage of his distillery's website. "Bimber's journey has been, and will always be, supported by our belief that the methodical application of traditional methods, respected over time, creates the best quality whiskies. Dariusz Plazewski (aka Lucasz Ratajewski) has relinquished all his responsibilities for both Bimber and Dunphail Distilleries, passing all decisions and operational matters to existing expert teams," warns Bimber Craft Distillery. "While understanding that news of his personal legal troubles may raise questions and concerns, we want to assure you that our operations remain fully operational and committed to serving you with the same level of excellence and dedication as always." A notice to enthusiasts and especially to the distillery's customers aimed at keeping the business secure. "In the future, Bimber co-founder Ewelina Chruszczyk and Dunphail Whisky Creation Director Matt McKay will lead the activities of both distilleries together, drawing on their combined experience in both companies. They will work diligently with our dedicated staff to ensure there are no disruptions in our services or the quality of our products," reassures the corporate message.

A twenty-year saga

But what is the story of the criminal-entrepreneur with a double life? The story was reported by Corriere della Sera, starting from the news of the boss's imprisonment in England: Lucasz Ratajewski - who has held British citizenship for years - was arrested in England, where the High Court decided to imprison him "pending a decision on extradition to his country of origin," namely Poland, where, known as Dariusz Plazewski, "twenty years ago, he was sentenced to three years in prison for firearms possession and is now wanted for providing weapons used in a murder and trafficking illicit substances."

The double identity

If Ratajewski managed to live undisturbed in London as a successful entrepreneur for twenty years, the crucial knots of his double existence have now come to light. Not only is he sought by Polish judicial authorities for several crimes, but the use of fictitious personalities has also been denounced in England. Despite his lawyers describing him as a "devoted father" and an "entrepreneur employing 40 people," the judge overseeing his case "was not convinced and ordered imprisonment because, at the time of his arrest in the London neighborhood of Acton, Ratajewski provided the police with false names and documents. Faced with the photograph circulated with the extradition request, he admitted to being the same person and having lived in Great Britain for 20 years with a false identity," writes Corriere della Sera.

Bimber Distillery's Specialty

Bimber Distillery began its operations in 2016, producing its first barrels from which The First, the first Single Malt in 1,000 copies, was born three years later and sold online in just three hours. A success tied to craftsmanship and passion. The production starts from the company's owned farm, where barley is malted traditionally, crushed by hand, then left to ferment for a week in small wooden vats also handmade. Distillation takes place directly over a fire in small copper stills, and the whisky matures in individually chosen casks, toasted directly at the company's facility, where it is eventually bottled.

A prestigious collection

The Four Elements Collection, which exalts the idea of ancient presocratic philosophers linked to the 4 constitutive elements of the earth (water, air, earth, and fire), aims to highlight the quality of barley cultivated by a single farm, the use of London water "rich in minerals, meticulously selected peat," and the use of casks all toasted by hand. A job, as explained at Bimber, "that tells and enhances our craftsmanship, our expertise, and our rigorous attention to detail." Unfortunately, for the founder and owner of the company, the alcohol fumes did not cloud the judgment of English judges, who, even if only after 20 years, have begun to dismantle his (presumed) double life.

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