Appleton Estate 12 Year Extra Old: 43% abv
Appleton Estate is a one of a kind rum distillery from Jamaica. They have several different rums in their collection, including a V/X, a Reserve, a 12 year, and if you’re lucky to find them, a 21 year old and a 30 year old rum as well. The latter two are certainly not regular production. Appleton Estate ages their rum in barrels which had previously housed Jack Daniels, which tends to be a unique addition to the Appleton flavor. What we’re reviewing today is their 12 year old rum, which is very affordably priced at around $30 a bottle in Michigan.
We don’t normally bring up prices in the reviews, because it biases things, but it is certainly a bargain in this case, no matter what light you look at it in. So let’s get into this a little bit. Are we just talking this one up, or is it really the spirit we’re talking about? On the nose, you will get a complex array of flavors, which range in spiciness and fruitiness, with some sweeter notes as well. Spiciness includes cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, giving a nice balanced complexity of spices. The nose is rich and smells syrupy, but has a surprising burn to it that you normally don’t get out of a rum. One can also pull out notes of apple, but also interestingly banana and coconut. There is a dark chocolatey note, with vanilla, caramel and molasses to add to the complexity. Overall, this nose is incredibly complex and fantastically balanced.
This is very encouraging, so without any cliffhangers, here’s the taste. In taste, we have an apparent oakiness, where the Jack Daniels lets you know it is in the rum with a semi-subtle presence. The rum has cereal grain notes to it, like rye and wheat, but it just keeps coming. The nutmeg and ginger are evident in the body, but are joined with a fresh mint taste on the arrival. Then those classic dark tastes of rum come in, like molasses, maple and toffee. The taste is also very complex, well balanced, and provides a great amount of flavor to it. The finish stays around a while too.
There is a long finish, and gives you more fruits! Notes like cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and raisons evolve through the taste into the finish. There is a slight bitterness, but a sweetness of powdered sugar as well. The odd note in the finish is a subtle presence of agave, generally overpowered by the more powerful cinnamon note. The mint note also revisits us from the arrival. There it is. All the things to be said about this rum. Here’s the thing: is it as great as we made it sound? The best way to describe it is that we could find no flaws in the rum. Thus, we cannot mark it down for no flaws. And there it is.