Apogee XII Pure Malt Whisky is an interesting proposition by London-based Bimber. Whereas most upstart distilleries source whisky during the interim period when their spirit isn’t old enough yet, Bimber has been releasing their own whisky since 2019. The Apogee XII Pure Malt Whisky might just be a very clever way to quench people’s thirst for Bimber products.
A very small operation, Bimber Distillery has trouble keeping up with demand. Pretty much all their releases (especially the single casks) sell out in an instant. It is a testament to their quality and the commitment to their craft. For a minute I thought that their new Dunphail Distillery in Speyside was supposed to relieve some pressure, but they’ve been adamant that Dunphail won’t become a Scottish Bimber.
For those that always seem to miss out on Bimber, or simply aren’t willing or able to pay Bimber’s relatively high prices, the Apogee XII Pure Malt Whisky might serve a solution. This blended malt consists of whiskies from the Scottish Highlands and Speyside, but can’t be called Scotch whisky. That’s because it was finished outside of Scotland in casks previously used to mature Bimber single malt whisky.
It’s been in development for two years, so you can’t accuse Bimber of quickly slapping something together to satisfy demand. Instead, they describe it as a passion project and an ode to the art of blending. Their process was one of trial and error, where countless amalgamations were left in the blending lab. I’ll let them describe their thought process further.
“It is that quest for uniqueness that has seen Apogee meticulously developed – not just in our blending lab, but through experimentation within our previously used oak. Cask after cask, trial after trial. As such, whilst Apogee stands as a showcase and celebration of the fine art of blending, it also delivers a fascinating, versatile and deeply captivating result which has been focussed further through its merger with the Bimber spirit DNA within our casks.”
When I received an email from DHL a few weeks ago that there was a package on its way from Bimber, I figured it might have something to do with my membership of the Dunphail Founders Club. Instead it turned out to be a bottle of the Apogee XII Pure Malt Whisky. Obviously with the expectation that I would write about it, but a nice gesture nonetheless. I hope I don’t need to state this, but this won’t influence my objectivity.
Apogee XII Pure Malt Whisky (46.3%, OB, 2021)
Nose: Stewed apples sprinkled with cinnamon and accompanied by apricots, melon and sweet oranges. Some light floral touches (lavender and geranium) as well as Love Hearts and a subtle toffee-esque quality. Taste: Viscous mouthfeel with a touch of dry oak, oranges and some milk chocolate, as well as peaches and honey. A sliver of mint in the background. Finish: Lingering sweetness and a pinch of white pepper. Medium in length.
An interesting and very drinkable release from Bimber Distillery, the Apogee XII Pure Malt Whisky delivers in terms of deliciousness. Mature and balanced, but also has this near oak-y quality that you'd expect from older whiskies that are almost over the top.