Thursday, 20 December 2012

Appleton Estate RUM

The production and consumption rum has a long, varied and thoroughly fascinating history.

Read on....into a wee peek on the use of rum in the Navy:

Every day, just before midday, the solemn ritual of drawing the days rum would take place. The pipe "up spirits" was made, a pipe eagerly awaited by many, and the Officer of the Day, the Duty Petty Officer and Duty Stores assistant  would proceed down to the spirit room, and enter into a compartment full of spirit fumes that would intoxicate the weak and delight the strong. 

Senior Ratings were allowed to take their rum neat and return to their messes prior to the rum being watered down to become "grog", one part rum, one part water. The Ships Company would line up on the  flight deck one by one holding their "fannies" and each individual who chose to partake in this ritual proceeded to draw their issue of rum.

Rum derives its name from the Latin saccharum meaning sugar. It was also known as "rumbustion", a term which arose in the sugar cane plantations. Rum was made by using the residue of sugar that had been extracted from the cane, which was then fermented and distilled. It was during the fermentation stage that rum developed its characteristic flavour. In order to test its potency, rum was mixed with gun powder and ignited. The resulting explosion was evaluated and the  strength assessed.

On 1 September 1862 the United States Navy abolished the issue of spirits to its sailor's, but it was not until 31 July 1970 that the Royal Navy stopped its issue. It was found that the ancient ritual of issuing rum to sailors had lost its place on board a modern warship full of the latest electronics and weapons.
The Royal New Zealand Navy continued the tradition of issuing rum passed on to it by the Royal Navy. But it was not until 28 February 1990 that the RNZN issued its last tot.

Jamaica is home to 'Classic Rum' and Appleton Estate Rum is perhaps the most remarkable and luxurious to taste, sip, savor and enjoy. With 263 years of Rum production they have a strong history, a well honed system of production and a range of Rums that can offer a high degree of pleasure and No pain what-so-ever!

I recently had the opportunity to taste  through four very different Rums: 8yr, 12yr, 21yr and an amazing 50 year. All of the these rums are minimum aged blends.
I smelled and tasted all of the rums neat then 'cut' each with a small amount of Antipodes Still Artesian water - about 50/50 for the 8 and 12 year, 5mls for the 21 yr and zero (at first) for the 50yr - then 5 mls.

The Appleton Estate 8 yr Rum: The bouquet is soft, lifted and reminiscent of butterscotch, vanilla and hot brown sugar. On the palate - soft, creamy and vanillin with a gentle nuttiness - not so much almond though a general nutty feel; a very light chocolate and orange peel sensation; the finish is quite long and becomes fruity and swings into a light spice on the finish.
Seems a shame to see this used in cocktails, but the two example cocktails that I did get offered were really quite delicious especially the Rum Mojito.

The Appleton Estate 12 yr Rum: 'Uncut' has a overwhelming bouquet that is both powerful and packed with many suggestions of rum and spirit. As a 'cut' rum it comes alive - and a little dangerous (this is a good thing) -  with smokey, woody and brown spiced sugar suggestions; On the palate there were flavors of cocoa, toasted oak, jaffa (orange chocolate in combination), almond skin, a light molasses and soft brown sugar.
A sipping rum, cut with high quality mineral water, a rum to savor and enjoy before and after a meal.

The Appleton Estate 21 yr Rum: 'Uncut' smooth and fragrant. I was advised to only 'cut' this expression of rum with a small amount of water - I did as instructed and this was the correct thing to do - Earthy, rich, sweet, caramel and sweet molasses bouquet. On the palate - exactly the same with an orange and chocolate layer, some turpene like action, raisin, date and a long flavorful finish.

The Appleton Estate 50 yr Rum: 'As Jamaica approached Independence 50 years ago, several hand-selected barrels of Estate rum were specifically set aside in anticipation of this momentous occasion. These rums were carefully placed in a special ageing area at the Appleton Estate and painstakingly monitored over the years by two Master Blenders - first by Owen Tulloch and then by his protégé and current Master Blender, Joy Spence.'

On the nose - oak, maple, cinnamon and orange peel (galore), complex, changing with oxygen and glass swirls: On the palate smooth and rich - no need to cut this expression -  flavors that remind be of a fine Barolo, some Fernet Branca, Old fashioned Christmas pudding, dates and raisins - quite a journey I have to say.
This was a real opportunity and if you have the chance to taste such a rum - say "YES' you won't regret it.
This rare rum can be purchased - usually at auction or may be available at a fine spirit outlet - but not likely.

My favorite rum of the tasting was the 21yr.

Contact the Appleton Estate directly if you would like to learn more about this rare and delicious rum.

Thanks for reading.


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