08 April 2011

Appleton 12 Year Old Rum

My friend Paul maintains a well-stocked liquor cabinet full of his favorites. On a recent housesitting gig I discovered a bottle of Appleton rum, something I hadn't had in a long time. Appleton Estate is the oldest rum distillery on the island of Jamaica, having been established in 1749. From the Nassau Valley, Appleton produces five varieties, from a basic V/X to the limited 30-year old. This 12 year old version rests in the middle of the product line.

Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rum
$30/750mL, 43% abv.

Orange peel, vanilla, and an overall bittersweet character. As it warms in the hand, some earthy elements emerge. There's very little of the sugar character left here, instead the flavor is driven almost entirely by the oak aging.

My rule of thumb with rum is that if it's more than 5 years old, I don't mix it. Don't get me wrong, rum cocktails are great, but that's what younger white, gold, and dark rums are for. A Cuba Libre is delicious and refreshing, but you really don't want to cover up a well-aged rum with Coca-Cola and lime juice. Treat an aged rum like good whiskey. It can be sipped neat, but I'll admit to liking a little ice in mine.

Most people associate rum with fun, fruity cocktails or beach vacations, but please take the time to enjoy something like this. After dinner, in a proper snifter or tumbler, perhaps even with a cigar. You'll discover the depth and range that is possible with this spirit.


fredric koeppel said...

rum and Coke was the first alcoholic drink I ever had. not exactly a great memory.

Benito said...


It's one of those cocktails that is mostly made (and consumed) haphazardly. The trick is to use the right stuff, and only have one or two, as the sugar and citrus will delude you:

- Gold rum (nothing expensive, but not the cheapest stuff)
- Mexican or Passover Coke, made with cane sugar
- Key limes

Everyone has a different tolerance when it comes to the rum/Coke mixture, but a quarter of a Key lime really brings out the flavor and if you leave it in the cocktail, some of the peel oils are released.


fredric koeppel said...

i think in 1963 those details escaped us. we were more in the haphazard area.

Guglielmo Rocchiccioli said...

I would like to share the tasting notes and the combination with food of this Appleton Rum.


This mature blend of premium aged rum is produced on the Appleton Estate, home of the finest rums in the world since 1749. Born in copper pot stills, aged in oak casks and meticulously hand- blended, the full rich flavour of Appleton Estate V/X is the ultimate expression of the rum maker’s art.

At the visual analysis, it demonstrates to be limpid and intense filling all the requested requirements for the distillate visual exam. The shades of chromatic qualities indicate an orange-red yellow with rosy images.
At the olfactory analysis, , it is a nose where the odours are not many, but are well defined. In the moment in which we identify the perfumes, we perceive wood, rubber, soap and dried yellow peach.
At the gustative analysis, it impresses favorably for its gustative balance. The good harmony depends almost exclusively to the fact that the alcohol is nearly invalidated and the scents are enough extended to acclimatize friendly to the palate. The final is with an almond flavour which it is recognizable by a slight bitter note.
At the retro-olfactory analysis, it is a spirit which is charming for its harmony and is capturing for its balance. When it makes contact to the palate, the distillate is opening notably, such as a good spirit does, and the retro-olfactory sensations correspond perfectly to what we have smelt at the nose (wood), even it becomes softer introducing a small honey fragrance.

PERSONAL OPINION: the odours are not many, but are easily identifiable and with a sequence well determined that even the taster is surprised. Its persistency (25 seconds) is not high, but each second, which is passing, helps to procreate new creative thoughts. For its sweetness, its harmony and its gustative pleasure, this Jamaican rum corresponds to the characteristics that we are looking for this typology of distillate. The final provides an involving emotion of sweetness which invites to marry this distillate with a sweet chocolate with almonds in order to create a new harmony between the sweetness and gustative persistency of the chocolate, and the sweet tendency and the gustative-olfactory persistency of the rum. Therefore, there is another obvious example which is confirming and recommending for the rum, in general, every chocolate in its distinct varieties.

Anonymous said...

Question: The Appleton's Estate (and other) rums sold in Jamaica are 43% alcohol by volume, and the Appleton's Estate imported to the U.S. is 40% alcohol. Why the difference?

Andy said...

Hey Beinto - thanks for the review and hope you don't mind I linked it to the "pro blogger" section of the Appleton 12 year page on RR http://rumratings.com/brands/37-appleton-estate-12-year-rum

Benito said...


Not a problem, and thanks for the link.


Unknown said...

I think old wines always been top favorite for many people and rum is great wine, people love drinking rum old wines.
Vintage wines