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Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum

Review: Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum 81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra
Revised May 16, 2023

On March 6, 2010 I posted my original review for Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum which I was told at the time was one of the more favoured rums on the Isle of Jamaica.  A lot of time has passed, and now 13 years later I have reached the bottom of that bottle which was originally opened 13 years ago.

Unfortunately the overproof dark rum appears to have been discontinued. The only bottles I see for sale are on auction sites rather than retailers.  Still, this was one of the first rums I reviewed many years ago so I thought I would give it a brief update on the website with a better bottle image and more detailed tasting notes.

Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum (when it was available) was bottled at 75.5 % alcohol by volume or 151 proof.

In the Bottle 4/5

We have a tall clear glass rum bottle which displays the extremely dark brown spirit inside. This is a standard presentation for an economy class rum with few frills. The point here is that they are trying to keep the cost down for what is essentially a mixing rum.

In the Glass 8.5/10

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 is strong with molasses, brown sugar spices and a heavy alcohol updraft.  I was not expecting such a nice aroma. The alcohol masks the individual scents to some degree, but I can identify  spices akin to cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, as well as spicy orange and banana peel. And a lot of alcohol astringency! (Hey its more than 75 % alcohol so this was entirely expected.)

In The Mouth 50/60

I had to prepare myself for the first sip.  It is a somewhat numbing experience. Sweet burly molasses and thick alcohol and baking spices are about all I can discern 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 the heavy alcohol strength has numbed my ability to distinguish individual flavours. Its just a nice powerful rum flavour!

The rum is not meant to be sipped, 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 very strong drink, but it is also fairly close to the typical strength of a normal rum now.  This mixture has a strong caramel sweetness with punky notes of the Jamaican pot still bubbling upwards. There is lots of vanilla and baking spice as well.

I like the mixture, but I have to be careful as an indulgence this potent is dangerous.

In the Throat 11/15

That first sip I took,  had me gasping for breath. The intensity of rum flavour and alcohol was 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 rum and cola cocktail produced a thumping burn and a strong caramel aftertaste.

The Afterburn 8/10

The Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum is an intense, rich rum.  If your preference is for a strong mixed drink, then there might be a place in your bar for this style of rum, especially if you like burly molasses and strong caramel flavours.

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


Rum Punch

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.

From this poem, and in the spirit of poetic license, I have designed a Jamaican Rum Punch using the ingredient construction from the poem in the New York Times from 1908.

(using the 1908 New York Times Poem Version)

1 cup of Lemon Juice & 1 cup Lime Juice  (Take two of sour)
1 1/4 cups Pineapple Juice & 1/4 cup Grenadine (To one and a half of sweet)
1 1/2 cups 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 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)


2 Responses to “Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum”

  1. Simon Needham said

    I live in the UK and can no longer find a supplier of Appleton 151 Dark Rum. Where did you get yours from?

    In aniticipation.


    • I received my bottle from a friend who was traveling in Jamaica two years ago. I do not believe it is available anymore. Sorry for the bad news.


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