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Appleton Estate 12-Year Rum is a blend of several rums aged between 12 and 18 years in American oak barrels after being distilled using small-batch copper pot stills.
The rum is produced on the Appleton Estate, which sits in the Nassau Valley in Jamaica. The estate’s origins date back as far as 1655 when the English overthrew the Spanish to rule the island and Frances Dickinson, grandfather of the distillery’s founders, received the land as a reward for his role in the overthrow.
Absolutely nothing offensive about this rum - and that's the problem. I've yet to try an Appleton product that has any real funky Jamaican presence. Like other Appletons, this one is not bad, but it's too polite. Much more preferable are the rums bottled by Hamilton, Smith and Cross, Mezan, Wray and Nephew - they all offer that pot-still pungency and room-clearing funk which Jamaican rums are known for. This, on the other hand, is yawn-worthy.
The Appleton Estate 12 year is actually a blend from casks with rum between 12 and 30 years of age. Many producers would jump right at the chance to call it a 30-year rum, but not Appleton Estate.
I expected the complexity in flavors of a typical "12-year" rum, but got much more. As the rum first rolls over the taste buds, a rather strong flavor of oak and a bit of smoke dominates the senses. In this, whiskey lovers should feel right at home. A brown sugar flavor is also apparent, but even though this is a strong part of the rums nose, the sweetness in the taste is only in the middle-lower end of rums.
Behind the strong, slightly bitter and charred oak flavor, are several other interesting flavors. Most apparent is the spicy orange peel with a vanilla twist. Before the rum leaves the taste buds, I also sense some lighter but quite complex notes akin to nuts, coconut and various citrus fruits.
To get the full flavor experience I recommend letting it breathe in the glass for at least 5 minutes before drinking. And when drinking it, doing so in small sips so as not to overwhelm your taste buds with its stronger flavors.
On the other hand, because of the orange peel and vanilla flavors, I think this rum would also excel in a variety of mixed drinks where these flavors complement.
All in all a rum which is very competitive in its price range and with more complexity to offer than one might expect when reading the label.
The reviews of Appleton 12-year rum vary from awfull to awesome. As a result I didn't know what to expect, but it sure was a pleasant surprise.
It has a bit sweet and strong vanilla scent. The first sip revealed the wolf in sheep's clothing: first impression is rugged, strong and oak/woody. The aftertaste however is smooth, sweet, brings out the molasses and lasts deliciously long. It seduces you to another sip, which you won't regret as it seems to get better and better with every sip.
Love the sweet before and after, with the ruggedness in between!
After going thought some nice but overly sweet rum (Zacapa, Zaya, Diplomatico) the Appleton 12 year was a pleasant return back to basics.
Citrus, molasses and a little bit of oak. Not overly sweet. Little bit of warmth of the back end but not harsh is any way. My favourite part of this rum is the long aftertaste.
This rum is my new everyday sipper.
Though this style is not to everyone's liking due to the level of funk inherent in Jamaicans, if you do like it this is a must-own. Best choice in Mai-tais.
Also as many note it is a very dry rum - this is because it has NO ADDED SUGAR unlike most of the high rated rums, such as Zacapa and the El Dorados. This is what pure unadulterated rum tastes like.
Edit : to address a recent review - this is a Jamaican rum, not an agricole. And giving it a low rating because it "was a mispurchase" and is too strong for your taste is just wrong, use a little common sense and don't rate it at all.
For this price,its one of the best Rums. A good introduction to jamaican-style flavours, a little bite at the end,but amazing fruits in the nose, a little mango,banana mixed with coffee and toffee finish.Surprisingly long in the throat. A good buy
This rum has a gorgeous dark red-amber colour, and it's smell and taste is rich - sweet and smokey.
I found this rum remarkably smooth, and it is now one of my favourite sippers.
Read some interesting things about this rum and in some case I just don't get it. The amber colored rum has a subtle aroma in the bottle but very little sweetness on taste...actually some bitter in it that registers on the tongue right before an acrid burn. Kinda kicks you in the back of the throat. Definitely not for novices. Not a good sipping rum IMHO but one to use in mixed drinks to give it a "kick". Surprisingly works pretty fairly well with Coke Zero but I would recommend others before this. A bit of a disappointment after reading all the hype.
Appleton Estate 12 is good enough to sip, but primarily enjoyable to those who like some harshness in their rums. It's got a bit of complexity, some spice, no sweetness, and a strong alcohol finish.
My sister brought it for me straight from Jamaica, then I got hooked up and I bought it from time to time because it is expensive compared to other drinking options. If you want the one of the very best rum in the world this is it.
I am a rum drinker, i prefer a good rum rather than a bad wiskey, I am from Dominican Republic so I grew up drinking rum, and I have tasted a lot of rums, I worked as a bartender for a few years.
After reading reviews about this rum I had feared a strong spirited taste. It was surprisingly smooth and gace a very full taste in the mouth.
Really a great rum with a fine aftertaste.
We had this rum in Jamaica on a cruise. Appleton is great and people are going to hate this but I love mixing this particular rum with coke.
I like this rum, especially for the low price of only $36.99 (Beltramos 2015)!
It's a tad sweeter than the Appleton 21. Very close to that in taste, but possibly even better. A bit strong for beginners at 43% abv. Notes of oak, almond, vanilla, molasses, and nutmeg. Has a nice smell, and a good aftertaste too!
Appleton comes in a clear, waisted bottle with a screw cap. It is dark red to brown and has a pleasant sweet smell of vanilla, wood and some fruit. While it is not as sweet as other rums, it has some sweetness on the tongue. It tastes spicy, wood and toffee flavours, as well as ripe fruits and hints of fresh fruity flavours. However, I would prefer it with a less harsh alcohol taste and more sweetness. It finally leaves a nice and warm aftertaste.
Sweet aroma, hints of vanilla and licquorice. Smooth on tongue, spicy in finish, overally bit sweet for me but it's acutally nicely ballanced. Good!
J'aime les rum plus sucré mais comme ce Appleton ne se cache pas derriere du sucre pour nous éblouir, on goûte le rum sans artifices ajouté , c'est toutefois plus difficile à apprécier sec comparativement à un Diplomatico exclusiva reserva par exemple!
J'aimerais bien goûter au 21 ans et au 30 ans...le 50 ans j'y rêve mais hors de prix!
I strongly advise you to do what Chaing Kai-Shek used to do when Mao got on his nerves: open a bottle, lean back and Taiwan on.
This is great rum. better than that horse wee-wee Bacardi turns out, especially if you're an actual adult who doesn't drink spiced rum with the bros at the local frat.
And cheap too, an important thing for an old skinflint like me. It's $17.65 US at the Duty Free shop at the Ivy Lea (1000 Islands) Bridge. You can bring in as much as you want as long as you don't go nuts and back a truck up to the loading dock. The American Customs guys will generally let you go with up to 3-4 liters, but even then duty is only $2.80 a bottle. Don't try to lie to them, though because that's another thing entirely.
Nice color. If it tastes like it looks that would be great. It doesn't. I don't know what it is about Jamaican rums, they have this cloying. Maybe I'll always be a beginner, reading the other reviews. I can't get past the taste. I gave it away.
I'm mostly a scotch drinker. But I enjoy a "malternative" like bourbon or rum. This one has some lovely chocolate and toffee notes with some tropical fruit in it. Not overwhelmingly sweet with a bit of a bite. Good stuff!
Purchased this duty free to sip in the Cook Islands.
Worth every cent, not too sweet.
This was my first foray into Appleton Estate. This rum reminded me of a bourbon due to the oak. Overall, a nice, warm flavor and less sweet.
Potent first taste ripe with alcohol infused sugar. Leads to a caramel rich after taste. One of the best rums in my collection when mixed with Coke.
Went the factory in Jamaica. Neat process. Not a real fan of it. Will drink in a pinch.
Appleton Estate 12-year rum review by Rumdood Matt Robold
Appleton Estate 12-year rum review by Benito
Appleton Estate 12-year rum review by Tatu Kaarlas of Refined Vices
Appleton Estate 12-Year rum review by Mike at Ultimate Rum Guide