Appleton Estate Aged 21 Years Jamaica Rum

Appleton Estate Aged 21 Years Jamaica Rum
I have to admit; this is a big departure from my usual reviews of recommended Single Malts. It is a “Single” spirit as it comes from a single distillery estate but it isn’t malt whisky, grain or Bourbon or any kind of whiskey! It is in fact a Rum!
This is no ordinary rum though. I first came across this Appleton Estate Rum upon watching a vlog about premium sipping rums. I had no idea such things existed. Before watching this, my view of rum was the drink sailors got drunk with, pirates sang about or what barmen put in exotic cocktails. Ralfy’s video explained that most rums are indeed made for cocktails but there are a few which are made for drinking straight or with ice, the equivalent to Scotch Blends I suppose. These drinking rums have been matured in Oak for up to a few years and are known as golden or dark rums.
Almost all dark rums are incredibly sweet as the manufacturers add a load of sugar to hide the cheap alcohol and lack of quality maturation as well as to keep up the myth I suppose, that rum has to be super-sweet as it comes from distilled molasses or “black treacle” as it's sometimes called. This thick gooey brown syrup comes about as a by-product of manufacturing cane sugar crystals by boiling the actual sugar canes. The molasses is boiled up again and yeast is added to start the fermentation process which eventually forms into a kind of a black beer. This is then double distilled in Jamaican "Retort" pot stills to produce a clear rum spirit. American Oak barrels are then used to mature the Appleton spirit in warehouses on the island, for the appropriate amount of years.
See here:
Last year, after watching Ralfy’s vlogs, I searched around the wine stores here in Israel, both in Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv, for a few weeks, looking for one of the Ralfy recommended Premium rums, but without success. At that I pretty much gave up and forgot the whole idea. Then, a few weeks ago I was in HaMesameiyach wine store in Machane Yehuda market where, on the top shelf, behind the counter, where they keep all the brandies and rums, there it was! A bottle of Appleton Estate 21 Years!
I Googled the rum in order to check the price in London and the first result was unsurprisingly, The London Whisky Exchange. The price was about £150. Forget it I thought, I have only even once spent that on a single malt whisky and that was The Caol Ila 25 for my son’s chasuna (Jewish wedding) to share with family and close friends. No way am I spending that kind of money on a rum! However, when I looked at the price listed on the shelf below the bottle, I took a double take. The price was listed as 450 shekels (about £90). I asked the owner for my regular discount and the price went down to 420 shekels (£85). OK, I thought, it comes Ralfy recommended as the best example of single estate premium rum and around half the price of London! I bit the bullet. “Ralfy”, I thought, “you better not let me down!”
Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum Brings Authentic Tastes of the Caribbean to Sandals® Resorts


The best luxury packaging design I have come across in any spirit bar none.
It exudes luxury and taste with every design detail from the oval shape of the can, the exquisite leather style skin which is moulded around the canister, to the pattern design inside the canister.
No attention to detail has been overlooked. The canister itself is a sheer delight to behold and acts as the perfect container for the equally beautifully designed bottle. The bottle itself contains so many different design parts which all fit harmoniously together.

Starting from the top, we have a big chunky real cork stopper with wood base. Below this is a Victorian style beige and blue ink drawing of the Appleton plantation which surrounds the neck of the bottle. Below this is a medal like disc which states that this rum has been matured for 21 Years. At the bottom we have a matching beige/Blue information box with Bottling Number, abv, volume details and finishes off with the proud statement “PRODUCT OF JAMAICA”.

Inside the canister we get a bonus. It isn’t a brochure or a booklet but a “Certificate of Ageing” to certify that the contents of the bottle has been aged for a minimum of 21 Years!

It even comes with a Pirates style wax seal. The reason why they do this is because Rum, unlike the Scottish Whisky Industry, has no governing body and regulations. That means that a rum manufacturer can add as much sugar after distillation as they want, as much colouring as they want and call it “35 Year-Old”, even if a single drop of 35-Year-Old has been added to a 3-Year-Old matured rum.

The Appleton 21 Years comes in a 70cl bottle and bottled at 43% abv.


I poured the Appleton into a Glencairn glass and immediately took note of its thick syrupy nature and colour. It wasn’t exactly Lyle’s Golden Syrup but nevertheless, not dissimilar.
Syrupy thick viscosity alcohol legs/tears. The colour is a beautiful deep dark gold colour mahogany wood colour.
On the Nose:
A fantastic explosion of aromas. You just want to smell this for ages.
Old Maple wood cocktail cabinet.
Maple Syrup
Wet Old leather.
Apricot jam.
Plum cake with cake mixed spices.
Slight sulphur burnt matches.
Big thick syrupy mouth fill of brown sugar and dried fruit, particularly ripe figs and dark raisins.
Sweet cigar tobacco.
Bitter Parev Chocolate.
Whole dry tea leaves.
Big round polished wood with sweet beeswax honey.
Hint of Turkish Coffee.
Goes down the throat like olive oil.
After dinner Desert sipping.
Not a hint of alcohol burn. A lovely balance of rich ripe stewed fruits, maple syrup, wood spices, leather.
Adding a few drops of water opened this rum only slightly, increasing the ripe figs and dark raisins influences.
I absolutely loved it. It is so very different to malt whisky but what a sense of style and sophistication.
The Finish:
I really expected Rum to be sweeter than this. Yes, it was sweet but not sickly sweet and the perfect balance between the dark fruits, caramel/brown sugar and vanilla, fresh tea, chocolate and wood spices is delightful. The caramalised brown sugar and dark raisins coats the mouth and remains there for a long-long time.

Reading online reviews of this, many mention that this 21 YO is quite dry for a Rum (perhaps because they don’t add sugar after distillation as most Rum producers apparently do). This is probably why I enjoyed it so much and why I will be avoiding all rums with added sugar.

Sometime in the near future, I want to sample this Jamaica Rum and then go straight on to some examples of Rum cask matured single malts in order to pick out the specific Rum flavour profiles. I had better make it in the “near future” because the bottle level of this Appleton is going down fast.
If you live in a country where the price of this 21-Year-Old is around £150 then in my opinion, unless money is not an issue for you, as delicious as it is, it is not worth the money. For the same price, you could buy a quite a few bottles of single-malt whisky. However, if you happen to find it for around £80 like me, then I really do think it is worth adding to your premium spirits collection.


  1. Rum, Rum, Rum

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