What is it? The newly re-packaged Appleton 12 (used to be “Extra”). The old version of this was a blend of rums between 12 and 18 years old and all the information I’ve found states that this newly packaged version is the same juice in the bottle as before, but stories and statements aren’t necessarily “facts” now are they….but let’s take their word for it.
Jamaican rum! Traditional rum distilled in pot stills from molasses, with a good helping of dunder, aged for a minimum of 12 years in American oak casks (ex-bourbon).
Coloured, chill-filtered and bottled at 43% abv.
Sugar? No sugar, and nothing else either. No other flavourings or additives are allowed.
Nose: Immediately loads of over ripe bananas, deep brown sugar, light caramel (maybe honey) and plenty of baking spices (allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg). Dark chocolate, some white coffee, cashew nuts, candied orange rind and vanilla. Behind the sweet and rich smell comes the really interesting stuff; dundery/funky notes, oily fish, a distant sea breeze, wet leaves, some ranico and a lovely faint smoke. A shed load, no wait, a streets worth of sheds full of stuff in here. You think you’ve got it nailed with the typical rum notes and under it all, with some time and patience, comes some fascinating smells that really keep the glass alive and rolling along.
Palate: Let’s hope this tastes a good as it smells, I’m left salivating from the nose. Full mouth feel and quite oily from the pot stills, sweetish delivery which is fine by me. Doesn’t overly sweeten after the initial sip and gives lovely chocolate covered bananas, honey glazed nuts, spiced nuts and a good degree of oak – but not too much. Really well blended. There are notes of creamy butter, vanilla, clove and those tell tale “funky” notes that are impossible to explain to anyone. There’s an almost digestive biscuit taste, black coffee and slight orange note creeping in. Yum.
Finish: Long and spiced, the heat of the abv is carrying the flavours well. A burst of citrus as things move on to the finish with oranges, sweet lemon, maybe even something a little sour like grapefruit or lime. It’s much fresher than the palate and feels almost like the heavier tastes are evaporating off your tongue. There are some nutty notes as things fade off, slightly earthy (maybe walnuts) and some good long oak that ever so slightly bitters right at the end. As it stops you’re left wanting to go right back in for another sip, very moreish.
Thoughts? Well what can I say? Appleton Estate is one of the worlds leading rum brands for good reason, this stuff is bloody brilliant. There is good aging, but not too much, the abv is spot on, it’s been blended beautifully. This is a definite repeat purchase for me, and at £35 (or there abouts) there are zero complaints. It makes you realise; when you can pick up a standard bottling as good as this, for this price, how poor some of the “premium” or “over priced” rums that get slapped out there really are. The nose by the way is the star of the show, as I’ve been tasting this I’ve not been able to take my nose out of the glass.