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Thought I would try the new Appleton Estate Reserve 8 Yr & Appleton Rare Casks 12 yr Rums recently released from Jamaica. I was really surprised with the younger rum which I find even better than the Older version of the Appleton Rare Blend 12 yr version and Its quality is definitely worthy of being drank neat. The new version of the 12 year (Rare Casks) is also much better than the older version and in my opinion both dessrve a “9” rating.
Update (21-11-25): Reviewed score on this rum, still a very good sipping rum but not worth a “9”. Score reduced to “8”.
Not one of my go to rums but I would drink it again if it was on a great sale. Decent rum for range but prefer Mt Gay.
Found it to be quite enjoyable. Made a fantastic old fashioned. I think I'm a fan of the funk.
We did a vertical tasting of the Appleton range from the standard all the way to the 21, and this was the standout rum. A big jump up from the bottom of the range, but only a few dollars more. If you like heavy Jamaican funk, the 12 year may be more your style, but this 8 year is definitely the best value Appleton offer. The 15 would be the most similar step up from this one.
This rum surprised me, although I didn’t exactly know what to expect. For clarification, being a HUGE fan of Jamaican rums (the more hogo the better!), I want super impressed with Appleton’s Signature Blend. It’s fine, don’t get me wrong, and I’d surely use it in cocktails, but it’s not being drank neat. I was missing the funk and character of the Jamaicans I so eagerly chase. That all being said, I was hoping the 8 year Reserve would Reserve something a little more special for me. And it did! It had enough funk to remind me of its origin, and a nice smooth, lightly caramel and toffee backbone that begs for another sip. Think Plantation 5 year without the added sweetness/sugars. Superb rum for mixing, or sipping, and particularly at its modest price point.
I tried this alongside of the Bacardi 8. Both have that hint of molasses that I like, but this one is more spicy or peppery - it has some burn. It certainly has more character than their basic offering.
Would buy again.
Edit - Bumping this up to 9 to match the current 12 year rare casks offering, as to me they are almost identical. This is a better deal, however, and is looking to become my goto for sipping rum.
I guess I like the Funky Stuff
Edit - Hell with it - this one's my personal "10" for enjoyment/value
Appleton Estate is my favourite rum distillery, their 21 years is absolute perfection for my taste. This new 8 years reserve is very good and has all of the typical characteristic of his older brothers: sweet and funky taste, great balance, oaky nose. If compared to the 12 and 21 years it has less personality though: its taste is not very complex, its sweetness is weaker and the oaky notes are very light. Still a great sipping jamaican rum
Excellent quality for the price. This one won a family blind taste test involving more expensive rums.
As someone who enjoys sweet rums, this surprised me. I wasn't expecting much and was looking for that famous funk, but I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet nose and taste of caramel. A nice bottle to have around. This was a newer bottle than the one pictured in the review.
Surprisingly spicy on the tongue. Strong notes of black pepper and oaked heat.
"Has a lovely smooth entry which quickly heats up. The initial notes of pineapple and dark almost to ripe banana give way to spicy heat. The flavours linger and coat the taste buds with hot spice."
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Caribbean dream? 7 out of 10
such a great everyday sipping wine that transports me back to the Caribbean every time. Yeah, not top shelf but reliable, affordable, full flavour, a real cigar of a rum.