Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum
Jamaican Rum 83.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2010
I have been told that Appleton Dark overproof rum is one of the most favoured rums on the Isle of Jamaica. This knowledge intrigues me as I often prefer cask strength offerings when I drink whisky. I do not believe this is due necessarily to the higher alcohol content, but rather due to the concentrated flavours in a spirit bottled at a higher than 40 percent alcohol volume. Now a rum at 75 plus percent alcohol by volume is another story entirely. At this strength we have a spirit which is much higher in alcohol volume than any cask strength whisky I have tried, and rum already having a vigorous flavour profile will be extremely concentrated at this strength.
In the Bottle 4/5
We have a tall clear glass rum bottle which displays the extremely dark brown spirit inside. I have made my point about the inferiority of pressed on screw caps in the past and will not belabour it here. Because the rum is reasonably priced I will not quibble unnecessarily with the presentation.
In the Glass 9/10
When I swirl the rum in my glass I see nice legs trailing back in the rum. I get a sense of power and richness from the nose which I like. The aroma from the glass is very strong with molasses, brown sugar spices and a heavy alcohol updraft. I do not believe this rum is meant to be sipped or enjoyed neat as I am about to do. But I must admit I was not expecting such a nice smell from the glass. The alcohol masks the individual scents to some degree, but I can identify spices akin to cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as a vague imprint orange and banana peel.
In The Mouth 50/60
I had to prepare myself for the first sip. It was a somewhat numbing experience. Sweet burly molasses and spice is about all I can say at this point as the strength of the alcohol numbs the palate before much else can be deciphered. I let everything sit in my mouth for a little while and decide that the flavour is quite complicated, but as I mentioned, the heavy alcohol strength has numbed my ability to distinguish anything individual. The rum is not meant to be drank this way, and I decide not attempt much more with a straight spirit. I added Coca Cola to the sipping glass in about a fifty-fifty mixture. This is a strong drink but fairly close to the typical strength of a normal rum now. I also mixed a fruit drink with fifty percent Appleton Dark and fifty percent of a grapefruit and pineapple juice mixture.
Both the rum and coke, and the fruit cocktail I mixed were very nice. They have more sweetness and more caramel flavour than I have noticed when mixing with other Appleton rums. A vague sort of nuttiness as well which I want to say is reminiscent of walnuts.
In the Throat 12/15
That first sip I took earlier had me gasping for breath for a few seconds. The intensity of flavour and alcohol was just too much for me to handle straight up. But I let my palate and throat rest and actually enjoyed the caramel and spice afterglow. My two cocktails each produced a thumping burn and a strong caramel aftertaste.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum is an intense, rich rum. If your preference is for a strong mixed drink, then there is a place in your bar for the rum, especially if you like burly molasses and strong caramel flavours. Although I found its flavours rich and intense, I did not find them overly complex. Brown sugar spices and caramel prevail with the alcohol bite masking the other flavours.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
I am avoiding suggesting a cocktail entirely and moving instead to suggest that this rum will be at home in most rum punch recipes that call for dark rum. Its not that I do not think Appleton Dark 151 Proof rum should not be used in cocktails, its just that I think the strong nature of the rum will make a great base for Rum Punch.
I did a bit of research for punch recipes and the earliest recipe construction I could find was in the form of a poem from the New York Times in 1908. The poem does not give ingredients rather it gives an overall suggested form of ingredient types:
Here is the poem and its suggested recipe construction:
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.
Arctic Wolf’s JAMAICAN RUM PUNCH
(using the 1908 New York Times Poem Version)
1 cup of Lemon Juice & 1 cup Lime Juice (Take two of sour)
1 1/4 cup Pineapple Juice & 1/4 cup Grenadine (To one and a half of sweet)
1 !/2 cup Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum & 1 1/2 cups Appleton Estate VX Rum (Of Old Jamaica pour three strong)
3 cups Ginger ale; 1 Cups Orange juice ; a dash of bitters & Ice cubes (And add four parts of weak)
Garnish the punch bowl with tropical flowers, and a variety fruit slices, pieces and chunks.
My research also turned up a new version of this old poem which I found on many websites. No one seems quote the origin of this bit of poetry, so I’ll throw it out for anyone who can enlighten me so that I can give proper credit for this sparking dactylic gem:
“One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak.”
Using this cadence, the same recipe above will be changed slightly, and now the recipe is:
Arctic Wolf’s JAMAICAN RUM PUNCH
(using the more modern poem version)
1/2 cup of Lemon Juice & 1/2 cup Lime Juice (One of sour)
7/8 cup Pineapple Juice & 7/8 cup orange Juice & 1/4 cup Grenadine (two of sweet)
1 1/2 cup Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum & 1 1/2 cup Appleton Estate VX Rum ( three of strong)
4 cups Ginger ale; a dash of bitters & Ice cubes (and four of weak)
Again garnish the punch bowl with tropical flowers, and a variety fruit slices, pieces and chunks.
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)