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Tasty, but not quite great
Feels like there is an elitist assumption that it can’t be good because it’s Appleton. Or maybe the new branding and new vintage have ushered in a new era. But this is an excellent rum, especially for under $35 CAD, imho.
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”.
I don't really ever drink this neat, but it certainly isn't offensive that way. I keep 2 bottles on hand for my home Tiki bar because it's priced reasonably enough to be an everyday mixer for me. I reach for this bottle whenever I need a little extra character without too much funk.
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
A fairly flat nose to this rum. Light oak and fruit, but really quite nondescript. This follows in the taste itself. It is easy to drink, even neat, and moderately sweet, but without a lot of character.
One of the woodiest rums I've experienced, adding water or ice just waters this down rather than opening it up. This has a pleasant flavor, but little more than that. It tastes like it was aged enough to smooth it out, but not long enough to develop much flavor.
I rate this the same as the 12 Year Rare Casks but the two are different and have different strengths. Whereas the 12 is excellent on its own or in a simple cocktail (think Rum Old Fashioned), Appleton 8 Year is one of the most versatile rums around. It's awesome in Mai Tai, in a Rum Manhattan, a Rum Old Fashioned, a Jungle Bird and even works well neat or on the rocks. Appleton 8 has a little less oak influence (spice, tobacco) than the 12 but a bit more mango and banana. Bonus, it's affordable so you should never be without it on your bar.
This is a good standby rum.
It’s not spectacular but it is not dreck.
Jamaica knows how to make rum.
However, worth dropping the extra $ for the 12 year.
Appletons have that strange distinctive odour. Hard to smell anything beside that. The taste is alcoholic fiery, dry but sweet anyhow. There is also afterburn, but decent one. For 8 yrs, it should be better rounded and mellowed, more refined. 8 years or not, this one has qualities to be rather mixer than sipper. Altrough I very liek 12yrs and V/X Appletons, this one is little bit of dissapoitment for sipping. So better mix it up or mellow it down with ice/water.
"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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