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Appleton White Jamaican Rum

Review: Appleton White Jamaican Rum   84/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on April 27, 2016

The Beautiful Nassau Valley

The Beautiful Nassau Valley

The Appleton Estate is located in Nassau Valley in St. Elizabeth which is part of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country. The Cockpit Country is a karst formation which was formed over millions of years. Karst is a generic name given to limestone that has been eroded by the chemical action of rain. There are three cockpit karst formations in the world: Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia), China and Jamaica.

Poljes are valleys formed within a cockpit karst and the Nassau Valley is a polje. Poljes are formed in formations where a river floods, recedes and then forms a flat valley after millions of years. The soil in the poljes is very fertile and rich in nutrients because of the sediments left behind after the river had receded. The Appleton Estate is the only sugar estate in the world that is located within such a fertile cockpit karst formation. All of the rum produced by Appleton Estate is made from sugar cane grown within the Nassau Valley, and thus Appleton Estate Rum is an expression of this unique terroir.

Appleton Jamaican White Rum has recently arrived in Alberta (distributed by Campari). The spirit is a molasses based rum produced from field to glass in Jamaica at the Appleton Estate from a combination of pot-distilled and column-distilled rums which are blended and aged for up to 2 years in oak casks. The finished rum is further mellowed by carbon filtration which removes both colour and impurities. The spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and (in Canada at least) is primarily aimed at the bar trade as a cocktail spirit.

Appleton WhiteIn the Bottle 3.5/5

The white rum from Appleton arrives in a medium tall clear bottle sealed with a blue metallic screw cap. At this time the clear rum is only available (in my locale) in large 1140 ml bottles which makes the spirit cumbersome upon my bar shelf. The labeling is nice but the presentation is clearly intended to serve an economical purpose rather than an aesthetic one.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When poured into my glencairn glass the Appleton White is crystal clear with no hint of colour. When I tilt and twirl my glass, I see a lightly thickened sheen of rum on the inside.  The crest at the top of that liquid sheen holds back for a few seconds and then releases some long slender legs back into the rum.

The initial nose is quite nice with light citrus zest and orange peel combining with background impressions of mushy banana. There is also a bit of Jamaican funk in the breezes carrying a mild but firm impression of Jamaican pot distilled character into the air with herbal undertones and a hint of mustiness. Some sweetness is apparent as well with indications of cotton candy, some very soft butterscotch and a gentle undercurrent of vanilla.

In the Mouth 51/60

As I sipped the white rum, I noticed a bit of oiliness which gave the spirit some added weight in the mouth. A funky combination of orange zest, mushy banana, and butternut squash gives the rum a unique flavour which has translated well from the nose to the mouth. As I continued to sip, the rum began to heat my mouth with alcohol and spice. However, a cooling menthol and some lightly sweet cotton candy flavours have joined in providing some balance and offsetting the heat. That faint mustiness I noted on the nose has manifested itself again with and underlying earthy quality and my feeling is that this underlying earthiness is probably responsible for that butternut squash flavour descriptor I used earlier.

I like the light complexity the rum brings forward.

As this is a cocktail rum, I decided to mix the triumvirate of quintessential white rum cocktails, the Daiquiri, the Mojito, and the Cuba Libre’. Although all three bar drinks would be welcome in my bar glass; by far, I preferred the Mojito and Daiquiri over the Cuba Libre’. The Jamaican White Rum has a strong affinity for lime and citrus based cocktails (see my recipe creation below).

In the Throat 12.5/5

The light oily consistency of the spirit allows a light candy-like sweetness to linger. This is accompanied by some spicy citrus heat which lingers even longer. This spicy heat is balanced by a mild menthol-like sensation which keeps the heat from overpowering the finish.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Appleton White Jamaican Rum is one of the better white rum offerings in the marketplace today. It is lightly complex and although the rum has been filtered clear after aging, it still carries the signature of the Jamaican pot still within its taste profile. I found the rum best for daiquiri and mojito style cocktails, but also note that it is a versatile white rum which can be used in other formats as well (for instance the Cuba Libre’).

My overall score of 84/100 indicates my high view of this cocktail rum.

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

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A Suggested Recipe

Appleton CelebrationThe Secretary General

1 1/2 oz White Rum
3/4 oz  London Dry Gin
1  oz  Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 oz  Sugar Syrup
ice
Lime Slice

Add ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the outside of the metal shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with lime slice

The lightly tart bite of lime balances the cocktail beautifully!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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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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