Looking at the list of rums we’ve reviewed, it has been a long while since we “visited” the island of Jamaica. Back in 2015 we introduced you to Appleton Estates Reserve Blend which at the time was their stepping stone into sipping rums (we still thought it should remain a mixer.) This month we sampled Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 year old which, judging but the color, looks more like a finer sipping rum.
Dating back to 1749, Appleton Estate is the oldest sugar estate in Jamaica and the second oldest rum producer in the Caribbean.
The estate is situated on 11,000 acres in Nassau Valley, of which 3700 acres are still dedicated to sugar cane cultivation. Weather, lush, rich soil and a limestone feed spring which provides the water source all play a vital role in creating this unique rum. 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.
Rare Blend 12 year old, previously known as Extra 12 year old, is a blend of rums minimally aged 12 years. That is different from rums using the Solera Method whereby it is a blend of rums up to the age printed on the bottle. Rare Blend begins with molasses then distillation in copper pot stills. The rum is aged in 40-gallon Number One Select American Oak barrels.
The nose is full of apricot and floral notes with hints that it was aged in oak barrels. There is also a slight alcohol burn that tickle the senses. A woodsy, almost burnt taste on the palate that’s subtle to start then gets more intense the longer it lingers. There are hints of nutmeg forward on the palate which doesn’t carry to the finish. I like that this rum picks up a lot of the characteristics of the oak barrel. The finish is almost non-existent. All the notes remain on my palate for me to enjoy.
The rich bronze liquid provides good lacing on the glass. The nose is buttery with hints of orange peel and the rich molasses. The notes are not overly sweet yet provides an expectation of a silky, sweetened liquid. On the palate though, the liquid is hot with cinnamon, nutmeg and alcohol. Once the heat settles I get the spices influenced by the barrels. For me, I can’t get past the heat to pick up any nuances of the rum. I agree with Clint, this rums lacks a finish because the party continues on the palate for quite some time.
This rum has a nice body with some development of flavors, however it is fully concentrated on the palate. At $36/bottle, Appleton Estate Rare Blend is a great sipper to enjoy with friends.
3.75 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