Appleton Estate Independence Reserve Limited Edition 50 Year Old Rum
Single Blended Rum – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still
As a lover of rum and especially remembering my childhood rum-experience (my first tot of rum was Appleton, at eight years old), whilst being someone who adores Appleton, when I heard about the release of a new edition of the Jamaican nectar, I was excited. But, when the details were released in 2012 of this 50 year old rum created to celebrate Jamaica’s independence from Great Britain, the excitement turned to dismay when the £3,500/$5,000 price tag was revealed.
Let us get this straight…..I have a *VERY* understanding wife, who encourages my rum passion and does not mind me buying loads of different rums that seem to end up all over our house for one reason or another. But, there is no possible way that her ‘understanding’ would stretch to me spending £3,500…..on just one bottle of rum!
And so, I resigned myself that taking a photo of a bottle when I visited Appleton’s distillery, would be the closest I was likely to get to drinking any of this elusive tipple. But then, on a visit to Liverpool to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday, we went to a rum bar and on their menu were all sorts of fascinating tots, including Appleton 50yo 🙂
It seemed very appropriate to be celebrating someone’s 50th birthday with a tot of a 50 year old rum…It was meant to be! All that was required now was a little nod and smile of approval in my direction from my wife, a bit of encouragement from my friends and I was ordering a £110 shot of rum. I did not jump straight in, of course…I warmed up with a £23 taster of Appleton’s 30yo rum. Compared to the 50 year old’s scarcity of just 800 bottles worldwide released in 2012, the 30 year old had a release of 1,440 bottles in 2009. Despite this, I was yet to try the 30 year old and have to admit I was bowled over by the flavour. Some oak and Appleton’s trademark dried orange peel were very notable. There was also some nice spices and it felt like velvet.
But this sumptuous was just a warm-up for the main event:
Appleton Estate Independence Reserve Limited Edition 50 Year Old Rum.
The first thing about ordering this is that the barman does not just go to the bar, shove a glass under an optic and dispense a shot for a fiver. This bottle was locked away in a display cabinet! Cue three barmen rushing around to find the key to open up the cabinet so they could dispense a rare shot. Key found, a senior barman was summoned to deal with this special drink and so the case housing the 50yo was brought to my table, amidst much fanfare and attention. Pretty much the entire bar was gazing in our direction as if we were some royalty or famous pop stars. Little did they realise that we were just normal people out for a few drinks. In fact, we were initially just out for a few drinks, but it turned into an expensive but very unique experience.
The shiny black lacquered box with gold etchings was opened revealing the crystal decanter and regal-looking gold-adorned cork stopper. The [presumably] head barman eased open the case, presented the bottle to me (for the obligatory photos and kudos) and then asked if I wanted a double. Whilst I would have loved a double, at £110 a shot, I just ordered a single. And so it was poured…50 years in the making and with much anticipation…..finally, I was going to try some.
So, what did it taste like? Well, once all of the fuss and ceremony of the bottle opening had calmed down, before I got a chance to try it, the glass was passed around the table for everyone else to smell the aromas. When the glass returned to me (still full, thankfully), my first nosing said ‘oak and orange peel’ – classic Appleton aromas. Next, the colour…..deep coppery with a rich viscosity. With some trepidation, I took a sip. Velvet! Smoothness beyond belief. I took another [larger] swig and swirled it around my mouth savouring the developing orange-peel and vanilla flavours of this delectable delicacy. As it slipped down, there was a warm, comforting glow. This was partly due to the elixir itself but also the satisfaction of having tried [probably] the world’s oldest aged rum, something that was truly memorable for all the right reasons.
According to Appleton themselves, the 50 year old rum was “aged in Number One Select American Oak barrels.” I wonder if they put some of this aside for a 60 year old rum in 2022…..or maybe a 100 year old rum in 2062.
Not sure if I can wait till then though! But I do know that 2017 will see the release of Appleton 25 year old at $250 a bottle.
Also, not sure if I will ever get to taste this again, but regardless, it was a completely unique experience and worth every penny paid for it.
It will be interesting to try the upcoming Appleton 25 year old to compare it.
Big thanks to my friend David who invited my wife and I to celebrate his 50th birthday with him in Liverpool in November along with his wife Wendy and friends Dean and Jo, who all contributed to making this unique experience so enjoyable.
Also, thanks to Smuggler’s Cove in Liverpool who played host to this event.
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.