Ask anyone about rum, and odds are, they’ll mention pirates and the Royal Navy. And both of those things have one major commonality: Jamaica. Now from Jamaica, we get two major marques of rum: Wray & Nephew Overproof, and their line of premium rums produced at the Appleton Estate. While the rum I am about to review is on the lower end of their line, it is still quite good for what it is. So, I give you:
J. Wray & Nephew Ltd.: Appleton Estate V/X Rum
Tasting Conditions: I bought this bottle and opened it in celebration of a new contract. I used an official Ministry of Rum rum tasting glass which is a stemmed tulip glass of approximately six to eight ounces capacity. The glass is similar to an old white wine glass. The bottle was fresh, and had only been in stock at the store for a brief time before being sold.
Eye: In the glass, the rum is a glorious pale amber, while it is a golden amber in the bottle. The bottle is shaped with pleasant curves that Count Silvio from Refined Vices called “feminine.” While I find the bottle a bit stout for a supermodel, the term is apt. The label is elegant, but not particularly subtle, displaying a picture of the Appleton Estate from which the rum hails. A swirl reveals slender, ladylike legs.
Nose: The nose is quite sweet, redolent of apple and vanilla notes, as well as honey, or maybe caramel. In the back, there is also a bit of wood. The nose is remarkably smooth. It is, perhaps the smoothest nosing rum I have had the pleasure of sniffing. Now, this is probably a comment more on how many rums I have tasted in detail than the rum, but it has barely the slightest hint of alcoholic burn.
Mouth: The rum is just as smooth and sweet as the aroma suggests it will be, with honey flavours dominating. On top of the honey is a bit of vanilla for a toffee sensation. Despite searching, I could not find the apple though I had just a hint of citrus, and a noticeable oaky note on the finish. The nest step was to add water. The water smoothed it out considerably, and really brought out caramel notes which quite dominated. The oak was suppressed, and replaced by a bit of nuttiness. The last step was to add the ice. After a minute to allow it to further cool the rum, and a swirl, I found the ice removed even the slightest hint of burn, while forcing all the flavors back a bit. I found the oak again, along with the nuttiness. The sweetness was noticeably toned down, and the vanilla notes were almost absent.
Conclusion: For me, this rum is best just below room temperature with just a splash of cold water. As far as keeping it around, it’s quite good, without a doubt, and at under $20 for a sipper, it’s an extraordinary bargain. However, for me, it was a bit sweet, simple, and, well, one dimensional. I guess I get what I paid for. For me, I am not sure this is a keeper, at least as a sipper. Its price point does make it a high end mixer, however, so I may use it in that capacity. However, it made me very interested in the Appleton Special. Depending on how these two rums compare, I may be using the Special as a regular mixer
So here’s to rum and the depths of the sea,