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Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year

Review Update: Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year  Jamaican Rum (94/100)
a review re visitation by Arctic Wolf (Aka Chip Dykstra)
(Revised December 2014)

It was in April of 2009, that I wrote my first rambling reviews on the Ministry of Rum. If you search their old threads you will come across my original write-up on the Appleton 12 year Old Rum. It was in truth the first ‘review’ I ever wrote. It really wasn’t meant to be a review; but more of a fun write-up to let the members of that forum know what I liked and didn’t and why. That rambling thread is responsible for all that followed. About 6 months later I started this website and that write-up on the Ministry of Rum became the first review I placed on my website, just a little more fleshed out but in essence that same ‘review’ I wrote originally.

In November 2012 I revisited the Appleton 12 year Old Rum and found that my appreciation of the rum had increased substantially. The Rum has improved over the last three years (or perhaps my taste has).

12 YO Canister

In the Bottle  4.5/5

The Appleton Estate Extra Old comes in the signature Appleton Estate Rum Bottle. This is the same bottle that is used in their entire line up.  I have no quibble with the bottle; it is a nice distinctive design which looks just fine.  My quibble is with the screw cap.  It is the pressed on variety which always gives me problems.  Metal caps expand and contract in heat and cold at a different rate than glass.  In my climate where temperatures can change drastically this cap makes me nervous.  As well these pressed on caps tend to warp easily ruining the seal on the rum.

In the Glass  9.5/10

This is a pleasingly dark spirit in the glass. We have a rich brown colour with red inky highlights.   Swirling the glass leaves a nice thick coating on my glencairn glass which coalesces at the top of the swirl and then lays thick fat legs which slide slowly down the side of the glass back into the spirit.

The aroma has a firm spicy backbone with a deep dark brown sugar and strong indications of baking spice alongside. Oak tannin and citrus zests arise in the aroma as well as a darker more burnt smell akin to charred coconut and caramelized sugars. As the glass breathes , marmalade-like smell well up and a rich underlying almond/marzipan nuttiness builds in the glass.

In the Mouth  57/60

The rum is nice and soft in my mouth. I taste a dominant trio of dark brown sugar, charred caramel, and a spicy oak which asserts itself firmly into the flavour profile. I found if I was patient, and let the rum sit in my glass and then sipped very slowly, I could catch the nuances of other more subtle flavours underneath.  These lighter flavours included a light hint of tangy citrus, a touch of spicy orange peel, a mild walnut and toasted coconut.  These milder flavours keep the rum interesting, and I seem to be enjoying this a little more each time I return to the rum.

In the Throat  13.5/15

The finish is long with a mildly bitter, but spicy backbite in my throat and palate. My empty glass has a rich rum and brown sugar smell which is very pleasing to nose after the rum is gone. The burn is much gentler than the Appleton Estate Reserve, and I have no problem sipping this rum straight or with ice.

The Afterburn  9.5/10

I like this Appleton rum and it seems to me to be a very large jump in quality from the Appleton Reserve. And in fact every time I bring down a bottle from my shelf I seem to like it more. The spicy oak flavour combined with the dark brown sugar and baking spices is a winning combination.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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)

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