Appleton Master Blenders’ Legacy
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 43% ABV @ 20°
This a premium offering from Jamaican producer Appleton, drawing from rum stocks aged between 12 and 30 years. Three generations of Appleton Master Blenders have used their knowledge and expertise to create this limited blend, hence the name.
Try as I might, I have been unable to officially confirm the date when this first became available. But, according to Justia Trademarks the name was “filed” on April 10th, 2006 and “registered” on July 21st 2009.
By now, stocks in most countries have dried up, so if you spot a bottle, expect it to be pricey. I bought some in Spain for around €80-€90 a bottle (in around 2013), but given that even in its native Jamaica, reports say stocks are low, you can expect to pay much more now.
This rum sits somewhere around the 21yo in terms of its quality and status, so should be enjoyed neat or if you must, then just add one small ice cube. Personally, I prefer it without anything added.
As with all Appleton rums, you know exactly what you are getting i.e. there are no additives such as sugar and the stuff is as pure as rum can be. It is also free from the marketing b*llsh*t that comes with many rums, possibly hiding their true nature behind fairy stories. But I digress…..onto my review.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Single Blended Rum” – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
The purple metal tin, containing what used to be Appleton’s signature bottle shape certainly looks distinctive and fits with the other “premium” offerings from Appleton in design. On my visit to the Appleton distillery, the tour guide joked with us that their bottle shapes are men and women. The standard varieties (white, special etc.) are the men…“treat them rough” he said. Add cola, mixers and ice. “But these are the ladies” he said as he gestured towards a line of Appleton VX, stroking the side of a bottle. “These bottles have curves like ladies and so you treat them nice and gentle. Don’t add rough stuff like cola…just keep them nice and simple.”
The one big let-down bottle-wise, is having a very poor quality screw cap on the bottle. Although this has since been rectified in other newer editions by Appleton with their re-branding of bottles.
There is a little booklet with some notes about the creation of MBL as well as some tasting notes, which I will quote later.
Deep amber, slightly orange colouring.
The aroma is very pleasing and can be experienced some distance from the glass. At present the glass is some 45cm from me and I am getting a lovely waft of Jamaican dunder hitting my nose.
There are subtle sticky molasses aromas and a mild oakiness along with familiar orange peel and dried fruits, typical of Appleton rums. I personally do not think a rum could offer more from a glass than this…it invites one to taste it ASAP.
Taste, Initial-middle 40/40
Smooth, warming and surprisingly mellow initial taste that develops a Jamaican punch to the upper mouth with hints of vanilla, toffee or honey and more orange peel. This is beautifully balanced with the well-aged robust 30 year old rum complemented by the younger rums.
Taste, Middle/Throat 39/40
As the rum passes from the front to the rear of the mouth, a slight bitterness is evident along with a hint of tobacco and possibly even citrus. Rather than develop from the awesome start to the taste experience, the rum slightly fades away, almost as if the saliva in one’s mouth dilutes the rum too much if it is sipped and savoured rather than being glugged down in one shot. If you do throw this back in one go, the whole experience is spell-binding but you do miss some of the subtle notes present on the initial tasting.
As the rum reaches the back of the mouth, the hints of toffee or honey disappear and are replaced by a new dryness that is the one element that continues to linger. The rum’s initial punchiness has gone, replaced by velvet, softness and the memory of an amazing tipple, although with fewer dominant flavours.
The smoothness that develops by the time this hits the back of the throat is remarkable given the initial whack you experience when you taste it. There are subtle hints on tannins that make you grind your teeth together to experience more of them. This is not the usual fire that you experience with a rum, but more the feel of a real fire when the flame has been extinguished but the glowing embers remain, warming you from head to toe.
Morning After Aroma
Still a lovely oaky aroma wafts from the glass bringing back happy memories of the previous night’s tasting.
With the price in mind, this is certainly not an every day rum. But it delivers so many pleasant feelings and experiences to your palate when sipped – it would be criminal to mix this kind of pure nectar.
This is one of the best rums that I think one is ever likely to encounter…almost perfect but not quite. Until Appleton come along with a 30/40/50+ yo rum that is under £100 and readily available, I think this will always be considered Appleton’s finest blend of rums. Not too sweet, not too strong, not too fiery, not too much of anything…just about right!
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