A Rare Spirit…
Perhaps it was one of the worst kept secrets of recent times? Perhaps I’m only jealous because I wasn’t the one to break the story (which is actually nearer the truth), but as all the top rum news portals have covered the new look packaging for one of the most amazing rums in the world: Appleton Estate 21 Year Old, I thought I better take a slightly enlarged view.
Appleton Estate 21YO is one of those rums at the more expensive end of the price range, but with good cause and for reasons we will expand upon later.
Spring is in the air and for many it’s time for a revamp or spring clean. The frankly stunning 21YO expression of rummy loveliness from Appleton is now going to be presented to the world in the decanter style packaging that was previously unveiled in the Exclusive Estate Edition rum (so limited that you can only get it at the Appleton Estate) and the Granddaddy of the current range: Appleton 30 Year Old. The decanter format suits this very fine rum much, much better – and comes complete with some nice touches that finish the package.
Master of Malt stock Appleton Estate 21YO for £127.71: http://www.masterofmalt.com/rum/appleton-estate-21-year-old-rum/
I need to come clean… I’m really not much of a fan of the distinctive traditional Appleton bottle – I’m less against it than I used to be, but it just doesn’t appeal to my eye. The proportions are wrong and the double curve leaves me a little cold – it’s just too wide and then too skinny. The lovely new decanter is much better and more pleasing to my eye. It appears taller and better proportioned – a more elegant form; the wider neck plugged with a chunky cork stopper rather than a humble screw cap which is quite acceptable for rums worth tens of pounds, but hardly appropriate for someone who’s just about to lay out a ton and then some. The Appleton 21YO really will now stand out on your rum shelf as being a bit special and deserving of the centre spot!
The widely publicised details read as follows: Appleton Estate 21-year-old's signature royal blue colour cues have been retained in the canister, the neck and foot labels, and the cartouche. However, the new decanter now has a painted label.
The new label highlights unique aspects of Appleton Estate's manufacturing process, with the inclusion of signature phrases such as 'estate distilled' and 'handcrafted since 1749'. It also draws attention to the some of the brand's unique qualities, such as the fact that this rum is aged for a minimum of 21 years and that it is a rare limited edition. The new label also shows an updated version of the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum logo.
The Estate's over 260-year history and heritage is showcased on the neck label which features the brand's iconic artist's impression of the Appleton Estate scene, and the 21 years' minimum ageing is again highlighted on the cartouche.
Appleton Estate 21-year-old Jamaica Rum is a once-a-year limited release that will be sold on an allocation basis, and each bottle will be numbered on the foot label.
Each bottle also comes with a certificate of ageing signed by master blender Joy Spence to certify that each of the rums that make up the blend have been aged for a minimum of 21 years in oak barrels.
OK, so we know about the lovely new look, but what makes Appleton Estate 21 Year Old rum so special? Well the name probably gives away a large part of the draw for most people. It’s OLD! Whilst it is definitely not true that old rum equals the best rum, it’s safe to say that it’s a good guide for finding a rum with sufficient character that will draw you back time and again. And with the Appleton 21YO, you’ll be luxuriating in the amazingly rich flavours and long, long finish. This is a rum with amazing character and whilst you might think that the 21YO is going to be overly ‘woody’ due to its long time in oak, the reality is that it’s not at all and that shows the craft of the Master Blender: Joy Spence. It has become a real treat for us here in our own personal Rum Shack – just a small measure, served neat and slowly sipped. And believe me when I say a little sip really does go a long way!
This repackaging is actually timed with this year’s limited release. And our good friend John (the lovely/lucky chap whom has been looking after Wray & Nephew’s PR for more years than he cares to admit) tells us “It marks the international release of a 'new year' edition of 21 year old - as each year brings a new release of the 21 year old blend. You can’t say that it is a vintage as Joy Spence's job is to make each of the blends as close as practical to the previous one, so you shouldn't be able to tell one year’s 21 from another year's!”
We think it’s truly fantastic rum and now it’s looking better than ever!
Appearance: Possesses a coppery/tawny hue with excellent purity
Bouquet: On the first nosing it has a floral scent that develops into a nutty bouquet that is unique. A mature rum bouquet that’s a movable feast.
Palate: Baked nuttiness comes on strongly in the bitter, dry tastes of molasses and oak.
Finish: The finish is long, sap-like, reflections of brown sugar and dry.
Overall: Delicious, unique and completely different. Mature
Strength: 43% alc./vol
We should point out that existing stock will need to be used up before the new style bottles hit the shelves so do verify this if you’re purchasing online.