Every rum has a story. Or is it every story begins with rum? For Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum that story begins in the mid-1700s on 11,000 acres in Jamaica’s world famous Cockpit Country. The specific set of weather and soil in the valley helps create a unique quality to its rum. As the story unfolds, leading lady, Master Blender Joy Spence, the first woman to hold this position in the spirits industry, hand blends each batch to create just the right balance, ensuring that sequels are guaranteed thrillers.
Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum was the first blend Joy Spence created, launching in 2000, to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Appleton Estate. The Reserve begins with two very old and rare signature rums ageing in oak barrels until matured. Ms Spence then hand blends each batch with 18 other aged rums. The result is Appleton Estate’s first chapter in its line of sipping rums.
The nose is very inviting with a strong, oaky aroma and a hint of sweet – maybe vanilla, but not clearly defined. Upon the first sip, whatever taste you’re yearning to explore immediately dissipates as soon as it hits the tongue. The flavors do not open up the more you sip. As a sipping rum it leaves me unsatisfied. No body. No complexity.
I do agree with Clint that this has a very nice nose. I don’t get vanilla rather maybe caramel. But there is also an earthy smell that is not clearly defined on the nose. The first sip immediately bites the tongue then disappears. The second sip bites again and the earthy scent presents itself to me; tobacco. Then poof, gone. There is no complexity to the rum at all however I still would sip if it were the only rum on board.
Even Joy Spence claims that she enjoys Appleton Reserve with a splash of soda water. We tried with a squeeze of lime and even an ice cube. The ice completely drowns out any taste of the rum. While this rum would be good for a quick celebratory shot after crossing the finish line, we believe it would make a good Mai Tai or even Cuba Libre.
Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 31 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.