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Howling Highlight: Tasting Appleton and Diplomatico Rums

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 22, 2010

I have said it before, having a blog where I review rum and whisky is great.

It was my pleasure  to be invited to a private tasting yesterday hosted by representatives of two wonderful rum companies.  Appleton Estate and Diplomatico rums.  The line up was impressive, with 7 rums in all and a bonus, a new rum liqueur from Diplomatico, the Hacienda Saruro.

Let me step you through the line up and give you my observations as well as the feedback I was hearing around the tasting table.

The first set of rums, we were given was a direct comparative tasting of Diplomatico Anejo, and Appleton VX.   These are  the entry level rums for each company, although I cringe at the phrase ‘entry level’.  The Diplomatico Anejo is a full four years old, and the Appleton VX  is a blend of 15 aged rums.

The Diplomatico Anejo showed nice legs in the glass, with a sweet almost floral bouquet of caramel and light cinamon spice.  It had a nutty, buttery sweetness and finished long and relatively smooth

The Appleton VX was lighter in the glass, but had a more complex oak aroma.  The spices were hotter and sharper with far less sweetness.  Orange peel and dried fruit were on the palate with a light brown sugar.

The second set was Diplomatico Reserva and Appleton Reserve.

Diplomatico Reserva, was less floral. It had an oaky taint to it that surprised me.  More complex with less butter in the mouth and more of a rough edge to it.

The Appleton Reserve was on the other hand a slightly more mellow version of the VX.  The vanilla accent was a little firmer and there was a little polish and craftsmanship showing.

Then we stepped up to the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva and the Appleton Extra 12 year.

The transformation in the Diplomatico from the Reserva to the Reserva Exclusiva was startling.  Fat legs in the glass, and a beautiful honeyed aroma with accents of  mild spices entwined into the rummy caramel.  This was sweet and smooth with a full caramel and toasted nut flavour profile.

The Appleton Extra  was also markedly different from its predecessor,  a hint of chocolate on the nose with a darker richer caramelized aroma.  Heavier legs added body to the drink and the palate showed distinctive tones of charred coconut and burnt caramel and brown sugar.  The oak was very evident in the mouth and finish.

Finally to top the evening off we were treated to the Appleton Legacy, and the Hacienda Saruro.

The Appleton Legacy was stupendous, with a complexity unmatched by the other spirits.  Having gone through the stages from VX to Reserve to the 12 year old Extra, I could taste the signature Appleton flavour profile throughout.  As we progressed up the ladder, the complexity of flavour increased to a wonderful climax with the Legacy.

The Hacienda Saruro was an elegant desert and perfect ending drink.   Suave and silky with fantastic sweet rum flavour, I found myself secretly pouring a second glass when no one was looking.  It is absolutely yummy.

What an evening,  what wonderful rum I was allowed to indulge in.  I did not make any judgments as when eight rums are consumed in such a short session, it is virtually impossible to assign meaningful scores.  I will say that there is a real difference in philosophy between the two rums.   Appleton Rums are tangy, complex and oaky with the emphasis on that particular flavour profile, whereas Diplomatico’s emphasis is rums that are buttery, nutty and sweet.   My sense was that the entire room of guests was very satisfied with both styles.

To help you further I have provided links to several reviews I had completed prior to being invited to this tasting.   More reviews will follow as I have been promised samples to review most of the other rums tasted last night.

Review Appleton Estate Extra 12 year

Review Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy

Review: Diplomático Añejo

Review: Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

I would like to thank the wonderful people from Appleton Estate and Diplomatico Rums for inviting me.  You treated myself and the other gueats to a wonderful evening!


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