This past week has seen the familiar brand of Appleton Estate involve themselves within the Manchester bar scene and introduce their #DiscoverRum tour. Showcasing their expressions within their portfolio, alongside some of Manchester’s best and newest bars serving some classic rum cocktails, a gathering of like-minded enthusiasts gathered in The Northern Quarter Restaurant for a lesson of all things Appleton Estate.
The first known documentation of rum production at the Appleton Estate dates back to 1749, however the origins of the Estate date back as far as 1655 when the British captured Jamaica from the Spanish. Frances Dickinson took part in that British conquest and it‘s believed that the Appleton Estate in the Nassau Valley, St. Elizabeth was part of the land grant that Dickinson received as a reward for his services. His grandsons were the earliest known owners of the Appleton Estate. In 1845 the Appleton Estate changed hands from the Dickinson family when it was acquired by William Hill and later changed hands again when it was purchased by one of Jamaica`s most successful merchants, A. McDowell Nathan. He unfortunately died in an earthquake in 1907 and his vast estate, including Appleton, was eventually acquired by J. Wray and Nephew Ltd. who still own it to this day.
Appleton Estate also comes with a rather unique approach to their production.
The Estate grow their own sugar cane and ferment using soft water from a spring that originates through the limestone hills within the estate. A natural culture of yeast in the fermenting process is also used that has been handed down through generations. Small batch copper pot distillation is the preferred method, blending the rum between both copper pot and column stills. Maturation takes place within oak barrels and when selected by the Master Blender, they are then blended to create the Appleton Estate range. After blending, the rums are set to rest, which allows the marrying of the various components and brings the blend together.
At The Northern Quarter Restaurant we tucked into a Jamaica Buck that involved a good dose of Appleton Estate V/X, ginger beer and lime, as well as canapé’s and ribs. After a fair bit of food and a couple of Dark and Stormy’s, we headed across the Northern Quarter to Black Dog Ballroom. Gathering within their private ballroom, the group mingled over a classic Mai Tai (Appleton Estate V/X, lime, triple sec, orgeat and sugar) and a couple of games of pool. The competitive affair came apparent within our next venue however, with the new Dog Bowl (by the guys at Black Dog Ballroom) setting us up with a couple of games of bowling amidst jugs of Dog Rum Punch. The Appleton V/X, pomegranate, pineapple and ting went down very well for any sweet tooth’s within the group, and definitely perked me up during my first game of bowling for a fair few years (it didn’t help we win though). Although a comfort came in the form of Appleton Estate 12yr at our last venue for the evening – The Liars Club. A tot of this soon relieved any sore losers from the bowling, as did the Old Fashioned’s created for us!
Speaking of their 12yr, below, I give to you my tasting notes on the two expressions tried on the evening –
Appleton Estate V/X – 40%
A blend of rum of at least 5yrs. Light on the nose with an oak aroma coming through near the end. A slight pepper is also present. Dry spice is immediately apparent on the palate, with a vanilla flavour mixed with the oak creating a long, dry, lingering finish.
Appleton Estate 12yr – 43%
A blend of rums between 12 and 18yrs. High notes of vanilla and banana on the nose, which follows onto the palate with a punch, although it mellows with a creamy texture. Creates a long, rich ending.
The Appleton Estate #DiscoverRum is a great insight into a well-known brand that you may never think of asking for. It demystifies the Jamaican rum and lets you into four fantastic cocktails, of which for me I could not fault – the Old Fashioned and Mai Tai being highlights. Give the trail a go when it’s next in town, or create your own!
Since the tour, Appleton Estate hosted the #RumLive event, focusing on four of their expressions and sampling through the medium of Twitter and hosted by Peter Holland aka FloatingRumShack.com. I was lucky enough to be one of the 100 selected to experience the above two expressions of V/X and 12yr, but also the following –
Appleton Estate Reserve – 43%
Launched in 2000 to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Appleton Estate and uses minimum 8yr old Appletons. Lots of orange on the nose, with hints of hazelnut and soft fudge. Smooth on the palate, developing warmth. Honey, toasted fudge and hits of citrus on the lingering finish.
Appleton Estate 21yr – 43%
Following maturation, this was blended and married in casks for two years and uses minimum of 21yr aged rums. Bouquet of floral aromas and nuts. Cocoa and vanilla swirling around slowly. Plenty of nuts, thick, stewed fruits and hints of rich molasses. Long, fresh with hints of dryness.
And even since then, I’ve come across other Appleton Estate expressions, including –
A blend of rums distilled in pot and column stills. These are matured separately before being hand-blended, then aged in refill Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey barrels.
Plenty of caramel on the nose, although becoming lighter with hints of sweetness following. Very light on the palate, rather thin, with a slight sweetness, blended with butter flavours.
Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.
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