Appleton Estate is one of the world’s most well-known rum brands, hailing from Jamaica and offering up expressions used by all, from cocktails to served over ice. I finally get myself out to Jamaica soon to check out their home, but it’s got me taking a sneak peak before i jet over!
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 40-gallon Number One Select American Oak barrels and when selected by the Master Blender, Joy Spence, incidentally the first woman to be appointed Master Blender in the world, 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.
So how does the range fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Appleton Estate V/X – 40%
*NOW DISCONTINUED* 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 Special Gold – 40%
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.
Appleton Estate Reserve Blend – 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 Rare Blend 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.
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.
Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend 25yr – 45%
This special blend commemorates Joy Spence’s 20th anniversary as master blender. A combination of rums aged for between 25 and 35 years.
Fresh demerara sugar upon the nose, with hints of fresh ripe banana, clove and oak coming through. Ripe notes of red apple, dried cinnamon sticks and coffee, moving to a bold kick of cocoa and toffee. A long, fresh finish, becoming quite moorish.
A cracking range of rum from Jamaica, with versatility to offer cocktails such as;
Joy’s Cocktail; crafted by the Master herself.
25 ml Appleton Estate Reserve Blend
75 ml Ginger ale
Slice of orange
5 drops Angostura bitters
Orange peel (garnish)
Squeeze the orange slice into a rocks glass and then drop it in the glass and muddle it. Add ice and build in remaining ingredients and stir.
Worth seeking out a couple of the Appleton Estate range for your cocktail evenings, and at least one to sip when the occasion calls for! I’ll be sure to update as and when i experience straight from Jamaica itself!
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