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Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2017

Joy Spence, Appleton Estate’s Master Blender and World’s First Female Master Blender (of a global brand) with more than 20 years of experience, was awarded the honour of the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) by the Government of Jamaica in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of Jamaica’s rum industry and Brand Jamaica globally. The Order of Distinction is a national order in the Jamaican honours system conferred upon citizens of Jamaica who have rendered outstanding and important services to Jamaica, or to distinguished citizens of a country other than Jamaica.

Joy now finds herself among a prestigious group of fellow countrymen that have received this honor, including the current Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Allen, and the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt.

Additionally, Joy was named one of the Most Influential Women in Food & Drink by the prestigious Food & Wine Magazine in partnership with their sister publication, Fortune Magazine.  The award-winning publications recognized Joy in their list of 20 female trailblazers and trendsetters who have raised the bar and changed the way we enjoy food and drink. Joy is credited for elevating the recognition and desirability of high-end rums as a Master Blender and rum evangelist.

More about Joy Spence

Joy fell in love with chemistry at age thirteen, and set her mind on becoming a scientist. After graduating from the University of the West Indies with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and the University of Loughborough with a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry, she joined Appleton Estate in 1981 as Chief Chemist and quickly became fascinated with the art of sensory analysis and the process of creating rums. Over the next 16 years, under the expert guidance of then Master Blender, Owen Tulloch, Joy honed her acute sensory skills, developing an unrivalled mastery of taste and smell.

In 1997 Joy was appointed as the world’s first female Master Blender, shattering the spirits industry’s glass ceiling at a time when rum was primarily made and consumed by men. At once an artist and a scientist, Joy has spent the last 20 years creating some of the world’s finest rums.

Speaking about her latest achievement Joy comments:

“I am truly humbled as I never anticipated being awarded with recognitions such as these. I thank those who nominated me for their confidence and appreciation. I would also like to thank my family, colleagues and others who have supported me along the way. The work I have accomplished over these many years is the result of the passion I have for the rum industry, Appleton Estate and Brand Jamaica.”

Throughout her illustrious career numerous awards have been presented to Joy in recognition of her exceptional life’s work. Joy was previously awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer, (OD) by the government of Jamaica for her service and contributions to the spirits industry in 2005 and “Outstanding Contribution” at the International Spirits Challenge in 2014. Joy was also given an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies.

2017 marks Joy’s 36th anniversary at Appleton Estate and 20th anniversary as Master Blender. She continues to pour her passion into the industry daily. To celebrate her 20th anniversary as Master Blender, this year she released Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend, a rare 25-year-old limited edition rum that is the culmination of Joy’s pioneering spirit, inventive mind, and dedication to her craft.


The Rum Howler Blog offers our hearty congratulations to Joy Spence. The honours you have earned are well deserved!

(And I will have more on Joy Spence’s, Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend Rum Howler Top 100 Rums of 2017 later this year as I continue to count down the .)  #Top100Rums

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