Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 43% ABV @ 20°
In September 2009, Appleton decided to produce a new rum, exclusively available at the rum distillery, in the heart of the Nassau Valley in Jamaica.
As a big fan of Appleton rum since I was eight years old (yes, eight), visiting the distillery was almost a pilgrimage for me. Blame my parents for encouraging me to have a tiny tot of rum in my coke on holiday in Jamaica when I was eight to “stop me getting a tummy bug” (it worked, I didn’t get sick – good stuff Appleton’s).
Given the journey just to get there, I made the most of my visits to the Appleton distillery, I ensured I bought a few bottles of the Exclusive to bring back home and have not been disappointed. Officially priced at $251 for a bottle (around £202, October 2016), the actual cost is far higher due to its “Exclusive” nature. Our journey to the distillery itself was $250 including admission and that’s on top of the £6,000+ ($7,500) my wife and I spent on our holiday there, making it the most expensive rum I have ever tried (including Appleton 50yo at £3,500 / bottle).
Appleton Master Blender Joy Spence says “I chose the rums that make up this blend because they reflect the elements of terroir that are exclusive to the Appleton Estate. The Nassau Valley’s rich fertile soil and unique micro-climate that features warm days, gentle afternoon showers and cool nights are the perfect conditions for growing sugar cane and tropically ageing rum.
In addition, the pure water from the Estate’s natural spring; the varieties of sugar cane that we cultivate and our one-of-a-kind copper pot stills all contribute to the unique qualities and distinctive character of Appleton Estate Exclusive Edition. It is a rich, smooth full bodied rum and I would recommend that it be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.”
As a purist, I do not like adding ice (sorry Joy) and would never dream of wasting this gorgeous nectar by mixing it with ANYTHING. Sip this slowly and it rewards a rum drinker with the true taste of Jamaica’s beautiful Nassau Valley.
I have been unable to officially confirm the precise age, but unofficially, I believe the Exclusive is rum aged 18 years or more.
For me, all Appleton rums score highly, as they are pure, natural rums free of additives and dodgy marketing statements. Furthermore, as with all Jamaican rums, any age statements on the bottle are genuine and guarantee that what is in the bottle is at least the age stated.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would be classed as a “Single Blended Rum” – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
So, the background aside, onto my review.
This exudes luxury and refinement and gives off the presence of something special contained within the fantastic packaging.
The over-sized unique Appleton Exclusive bag, followed by an outer box packaging (cardboard box) and a dark (mahogany?) wooden box housing the bottle – this all says “wow”!!!
The bottle is finished with a cork closure.
It is exciting just to open this.
Deep amber appearance, almost coppery, with a light green hue on the surface.
Exceptionally powerful oak aroma with hints of vanilla and orange peel, especially if you leave it in the glass for a few minutes. At 43%, it has a more powerful alcoholic aroma, which emphasises the oak.
Taste, Initial-middle 38/40
Warming, silky and ultra-smooth. A hint of fruit, spice and strong oakiness. There is a woody earth feel to it, but it is subtle rather than overpowering and balances the other flavours nicely.
Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40
The initial warmness continues down the throat although the smoothness becomes a little rougher. Not unpleasant, but it is noticeable, but then rum often is a little rough, which is not necessarily a bad thing. A very relaxed fruitiness lingers with the oak, which softens as the rum reaches the throat. Whilst I do not like adding water unless the rum is over-proof, a couple of drops does tone down any apparent roughness.
Long smooth and warming as it slips down. The middle roughness has gone, leaving a lovely smooth feeling down your throat with a very long, lingering oakiness.
Morning After Aroma
Still a lovely oaky aroma accompanied by burnt brown sugar. Putting the glass to your nose still smells amazing and reminds you of the beautiful Appleton Estate.
Given the price and difficulty in obtaining this rum, it certainly isn’t cheap or good value. But is something special that stands out from the crowd and sits easily with the very finest rums available.
It is pure rum with nothing added and is free from dodgy marketing stories.
More on Appleton Rum at their official web site:
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7