Rum Review: Appleton 21
Appleton Estate 21-Year Rum Review
Looking back through my reviews, I realized I hadn’t written a review of one of my favorite rums: the twenty-one year expression from the Appleton Estate in Jamaica. Time to rectify that!
The Appleton 21-year pictured is the older bottling. Since this bottle was produced, Appleton has classed up their older marques with much sexier etched bottles and proper cork stoppers. The screw cap shown here had long been thought inadequate for a rum of this age and price, and it’s nice to know the folks at Appleton finally responded to that criticism. Given the change in packaging, I won’t go deeply into the design here—essentially it’s the same as the Reserve/VX/12-Year, but with a distinctive blue color scheme.
In the glass, the rum is a deep mahogany that is more brown than red. You just know you’re looking at an older rum. A swirl produces a host of leggy brown goodness.
My first pass over the glass gets me almost no astringency, and I’m actually able to smell directly from inside the snifter without any discomfort. I could dive into the glass were it large enough. The aromas are entirely pleasant. There is a heavy dose of oak, but it’s not overly woody, and it’s blended expertly with caramel, melted brown sugar, vanilla and flamed orange peel. As I process the aromas, I find myself hearkening back to my experience with the Appleton 50. I can’t wait to taste it…
The first sip enters with a bit of heat (it’s 43% ABV) and as the oaky base coats the tongue, a bit of sweetness comes in and settles everything down nicely. At this point I struggle to pick out individual flavors because I’m enjoying the rum too much. Focus. Another sip and the oak is still persistent, but now I’m getting milk chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and allspice. Woven throughout the spices and sugary goodness is a hint of citrus with a bit of almond and walnut. What a beauty.
When I first got into aged rum, I didn’t fully appreciate the Jamaican style. In short, I was a damn fool. I gravitated toward the sweeter Central American rums as many do, but as I expanded my rummy horizons I found myself coming back to the Jamaicans—especially those of Appleton Estate. There is something about Jamaican rum that just feels true. It is smooth but unapologetic in its funky assertiveness. It’s real, and this is one of the best I’ve had.
On to the scores:
· Appearance: 1/1
· Nose: 2/2
· Mouth feel: 1/1
· Taste: 4/4
· Aftertaste: 2/2
· Total Score: 10/10
How do you score Appleton 21? Share your comments below.