Appleton Estate V/X, 8, 12 and 21 Year Old

Appleton Estate is a rum from Jamaica; the heartland of reggae, dreadlocks and a cool calculated demeanor (basically the opposite to my taste in rock music, buzz cut and my very Italian short fuse). My general impression of the Appleton Estate range is that it is superbly crafted and that it is the epitome of English style Jamaican rum. With this British theme in mind, what I especially respect with Appleton Estate is that their age statements indicate the minimum or youngest age of the rum in the bottle (because each bottle is a blend of rums from different casks), unlike some other rum producers which specify a year on the bottle but in fact the rum is a blend of different ages and the number on the bottle might represent the age of only the oldest rum in the bottle. 
Appleton Estate sits in the Nassau Valley in Jamaica, and they have been producing rum for an incredible 260 years! This valley provides Appleton estate with the sugar cane it needs to produce the rum, which is made from combining sugar cane molasses with a special culture of yeast and then a mixture of column and copper pot stills are used for distillation. 
In this post I review the Appleton Estate range, the V/X, 8 year old, 12 year old and the 21 year old. Lucky me!
Spirit Name:




















Appleton Estate 21 Year Old (Bott no: 00,772, Bottled: 2007)


Rating:
Score:
★★★★★
94/100
ABV:
43%
Region:
Jamaica 
Body:
Medium 
Intensity:
Medium 
Texture:
Medium-oily 
Balance:
Heavenly, almost perfect! 
Best served:
Neat 
Theme(s):
Perfect harmony, this rum resonates the smooth comforting sound of Bob Marley as I sit back and ask “is this love is this love is this love that I’m feelin?”… now put your feet up and chill while this rum takes you for a smooth sail to Jamaica (don’t forget to listen to some Marley!)  
Tasting notes:

Nose:       Surprisingly, the typical rum aromas are not the first notes to strike my nose. The smell of alcohol, which is heavy in the V/X, moderate in the 8 year old and light in the 12 year old is almost unnoticeable in the 21 year old. The smell of a cafe in the evening fills the glass as a creamy espresso iced coffee with slowly melting ice is covered with hazelnuts, banana chips and raisins. There is a freshness on the nose that smells like spring water and which I think is the pristine Jamaican mineral water used to create and cut down this work of art. The oak is a big feature of this rum, but the heart of the rum – the sugar and molasses – glows as an earthy panela shines with lemon meringue and notes of mint confectionery. This is seriously smooth rum without any noticeable ripples, and it makes the V/X and the 8 year old look very clumsy and jagged. The piercing ethanol of the alcohol is almost unnoticeable as the oak moderates the sugary distillate, but still allows it to get on its soap box from time to time. This is spectacular, nothing like a well aged rum! The oak influence is big but not over done in my view, this is all smooth sailing without any noticeable harshness or disharmony.  

Taste: Possibly one of the smoothest spirits I have ever tasted, the harmony continues on the palate. Nothing leaps out unexpectedly, and the flavours all blend in synchronisation without agitating. The oak is definitely a big theme on the palate, but there is no piercing bitterness or “furry” wood; just notes of that wonderful hazelnut layered iced coffee identified on the nose with a more intense brown molasses and the dry surge of wood that is quickly washed away by a luscious and almost chewy wave of vanilla slice dusted with cocoa. There is nothing in this rum that overpowers, except for an initial strike of oak that snaps like a snake but then retreats almost as quickly as it bit. 
Finish: A dusting of cocoa lingers on the palate with the dry English style character, as the oak delivers a symphony of flavours that glow on the palate like a stubborn ember that refuses to die.

Likes:
Beautiful harmony, all smooth sailing with diverse character. Despite its age, the oak does not dominate this rum, great work by Joy Spence! 
Dislikes:
There is a snap of dry oak in the middle of the tasting, and this is a very smooth whisky without the harshness or aggressiveness that is sometimes desired in a rum; especially on a cold night.  
Price:
$225 (Aus)
Spirit Name:




















 Appleton Estate 12 Year Old 





















Rating:
Score:
★★★★★
86/100
ABV:
43%
Region:
Jamaica 
Body:
Medium 
Intensity:
Medium (big sugar notes)
Texture:
Medium 
Balance:
Great 
Best served:
Neat, mixed 
Theme(s):
Big dry notes and lashings of sugar rich distillate are met with some complex oak flavours 
Tasting notes:
Nose: The bright molasses shines through the dense dry oak that that glistens with vanilla bean  and mint confectionery, as the sharpness of lemon juice and lime peel cuts through the dry sugary English style rum that offers notes of creamy mocha and lemon cheesecake layered with orange popping candy, This rum has a beautiful density and charm that is not shared by the 8 year old and the V/X, the latter of which seems pretty below average when compared side by side with the 12 year old. It is sligtly sweeter than the 21 year old, with more pronounced sugar, molasses and orange notes. 
Taste: The sting of alcohol and sugary sweetness is more noticeable than in the beautiful 21 year old, which is to be expected as the oak has had much less of an influence. There is a spiciness that conjures memories of cinnamon flavoured dark chocolate and raisins as the strike of crystalised brown sugar radiates on the base of the tongue. This is not as smooth as the 21 year old, not by a long shot. It offers a piercing punch of Appleton Estate with some stormy waves of oak driven cocoa and vanilla with some distillate driven sugar. 
Finish: The brown sugar lingers on the tongue with some dry wood. 
Likes:
Sometimes a bit of a storm is what we are after, not just smooth sailing, and the 12 year old offers this with some degree of smoothness and complexity. 
Dislikes:
There are big sugar notes in this rum that the oak has not quite ironed out. 
Price:
$60 (Aus)
Spirit Name:






















 Appleton Estate 8 Year Old






















Rating:
Score:
★★★★
80/100
ABV:
43%

Region:
Jamaica 
Body:
Medium 
Intensity:
Medium (big sugar rush)
Texture:
Light-medium 
Balance:
OK 
Best served:
Mixed, in a cocktail 
Theme(s):
A wave of sugary distillate is too much for the oak to bear, but it does have some input

Tasting notes:
Nose: The aroma on the nose is a little denser than the V/S, and the sting of alcohol a little less piercing as the oak influence is more noticeable. Along with the molasses is the typical English style dryness but the berry identified in the V/X is not present in the 8 year old,  and instead licorice coated in dark chocolate is present with some notes of vanilla and caramel. There is a crisp freshness in this rum, almost like mineral water and lush green; water lilies sitting over fresh water. The V/X is almost watery and sour in comparison. Tasted side by side the eight year old is much better on the nose.

Taste: The sweetness in the 8 year old is more pronounced and less complex than in the 12 year old, as a sharp refined sugary sweetness takes hold with some caramel and golden syrup. There is that distinct dryness and the oak plays some part, but it does not do enough to moderate the sweetness.

Finish: A syrupy sweetness lingers on the palate with some mild dryness.  

Likes:
Simple and great mixer 
Dislikes:
Price:
Much too sweet and not enough oak influence
$55 (Aus)
Spirit Name:






















 Appleton Estate V/X 




















Rating:
Score:
★★★★
77/100
ABV:
43%
Region:
Jamaica 
Body:
Light 
Intensity:
Light-medium 
Texture:
Light-medium 
Balance:
OK 
Best served:
Mixed, in a cocktail 
Theme(s):
Sugar, sugar, sugar, beautiful sugar! This is a fine rum for mixing to add a rum based touch. Remember, you get what you pay for and Appleton Estate have produced a high quality rum for the price!

Tasting notes:
The Appleton Estate V/X is the most affordable of the range. It has no age statement and is light in colour, almost a copper with an amber tinge.

Nose: Dry and typical of Appleton Estate’s English style, the alcohol is soft and creamy as a sugary sweetness wafts up with some dry wood and some golden syrup layered over whipped cream and tart/sour raspberries. There is a sweetness in this rum that is not confined to the sugar, and this aroma is best described as a sour/tart berry sprinkled with some sugar.

Taste: The sugar at the heart of this rum pulsates with might, as the oak adds a light shimmer of vanilla here. The Appleton Estate theme is there too, but this is not very enjoyable neat.

Finish: Lots of sugar but without much of the complexity that defines the other Appleton Estate expressions 

Likes:
Great mixer 
Dislikes:
Price: 
Much too simple and sweet for a sipping rum
$38 (Aus)
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