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Rum Review: Appleton Extra 12 Year Rum

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How do you rate Appleton Extra Rum (5 is best)?
 52%  [ 9 ]
 41%  [ 7 ]
 5%  [ 1 ]
 0%  [ 0 ]
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 17

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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3481
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:49 pm    Post subject: Rum Review: Appleton Extra 12 Year Rum Reply with quote

Appleton Extra 12 Year Rum: "Exploding Flower Blossoms"

Appleton Extra has become one of my favorite rums. I long avoided buying this one as I somehow perceived this as nice but rather ordinary. Boy was I wrong. Appleton Extra constitutes my second style reference: Jamaican Aromatic; it is well reviewed. Accordingly I felt I really ought to own it, and did so. When I finally twisted off that cap at then end of a night of MGXO I almost fell off the couch. The aroma! My god it just wouldn't quit. Honestly, I could have just nosed it for the rest of the night, and practically did. The reviews:

Sue Sea:

Appleton Extra just knocked me out, this is a real rum and I understand why it was not long before Jamaican rum became the preferred premium rum in the early days. Aromawise my first impression was of vanilla and orange or cherry blossoms in a spring rain. If you live in Florida, perhaps you have a "frangipans" flowering tree. On reflection I picked up black cherry, oak and toasted almonds. Extra is full bodied and smooth, and tastes of pepper with an explosive aromatic release of spice, caramel and citrus (pineapple). Actually pretty complex. The finish is the weakest link: abrupt and peppery - not warm, not smokey - which quickly fades to leave a mild lingering and pleasant orange peel and smoky cigar aftertaste.

Me: I love Appleton Extra and it is a terrific representative of the Jamaican aromatic style. Although Barbadian represent the original classic rum from which all others flowed, it was not long before aromatic Jamaican rums became the preferred premium rum in the Colonies. Preferred by George Washington, Franklin et al. Appleton is a very old company dating from the mid 1700's and has a long and stubbornly admirable commitment to their wonderful rums.

Appleton Extra is a glowing darker amber, with slow legs. Its aroma is very smooth and aromatic: vanilla, oak, deep fruit sweetness and a bit of leather. The taste is equally smooth and entirely consistent, with a light peppery end palate. Sue Sea and I disagree about the finish and aftertaste. She attributes the length more to the aftertaste, I to the finish.

To me the finish is long, growing and peppery, leaving a light leather, cigar box finish, common to the Appletons. Very nice.

At a recent tasting I had the opportunity to taste Appleton 21 - an expensive $90 rum - and perhaps it was the conditions but I still prefer Extra. It is fair to say that very old rums, having spent many years in the barrel, may have lost some congeners and flavors to the wood, and gained others some may not prefer. There is a case to be made for nicely, but not overly, aged rums which also cost less and may well be preferable. A must buy for your basic reference collection.

Appleton Extra is one. Rating (10 is best): 8.

Go to Save Caribbean Rum Petition!

Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:29 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim and Sue,

Fascinating reviews. I am working on some reviews of Appleton products and am interested in your comments. In particular, Jim, your comment about over-aged rums losing some bit of their soul to the wood. This thought has been tossed around Bourbon drinking circles and seems to be taken as an accepted theory now. I wonder if the common solera method of blending in the Rum world may alleviate some of the loss of vitality due to the long casking?
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3481
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:31 am    Post subject: Got oak? Reply with quote

Got Oak?

Thanks for the compliments. We work very hard to make our reviews accessible and to communicate using shared (and common) life experiences. Like "Bananas Foster"! I was not aware of the bourbon consensus, thank you very much. But I'm not surprised. The brown spirits have much in common. All hope to preserve more flavor, all benefit (or not) from their time in oak.

Rum making is truly a great art.

Spectography aside, the best rums result from the skill and experience of the fermenter, distiller, cooper, ager and blender. Such individuals are more rare than most assume, notwithstanding marketing blather to the contrary.

Oaking is a key part of that process. Super premium rums are marketed as such largely based on the posit that if aging is good, lots of aging must be better. And that aging - with its concomitant loss of the angel's share, cooperage and storage costs - costs big money. So we end up with the Appleton 21's, et al.

Are they better? The purchaser who just parted with $150 to buy one will be hard pressed to say otherwise. It takes a brave and independent individual to contradict the weight of marketing, cost and social pressure. As for me...

I think not.

Ten to twelve years is about the point where skilled oaking shows its greatest benefit. Going much beyond that entails some real risk. MJ, I agree with you that this is where the solera method and/or great blending pays dividends. The excesses of age can be reduced to interesting background tones, rather than dominant characteristics.

Single barrel, long aged rums are quite the opposite. Like some of the high dunder Jamaicans, or rums like the Pusser's, these are an acquired taste for a few, especially traditionalists. Accordingly Pusser's ends up in Pain Killers and the like.

Just a bit about oaking is relevent...

Oak is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, tannins and lactones. Toasting or charring the barrel creates sugars and carmelization, among many other important chemical processes and effects. Let's briefly cover some of these:

1. Cellulose - affects wines, but generally not spirits.

2. Hemicellulose - source of sugars, carmelization, body and color.

3. Lignin - adds to color, complexity, vanillans and oxidation.

4. Tannins - leads to astringency, participates in oxidation and removal of "off-flavors". Tannins can provide some of the lovely aromatic high tones in rum.

5. Lactones - these are expecially evident in the bourbons and lead to its woodiness, and characteristic bourbon color and taste. Isomers of lactones have been described as woody, coconut and celery-like.

6. Charring - helps remove off-flavors (eg rubberiness) and leads to smoky tones (but a lot less than you might think).

One of the problems in oaking is that there are competing and/or simultaneous processes. While the tannins are producing their wonderful high and aromatic tones, the lactones are growing to perhaps obliterate them with overly woody characteristics. Finding a desired balance is an art.

To make matters even more complicated, Ian Wisniewski of Whisky World:

"The archetypal ‘maturation mandate’ is to reach a balance between the beneficial characteristics gained from the oak, while also retaining and developing the individual ‘distillery character’ embodied in new make spirit. Because different malts have varying ageing potential, longer maturation does not guarantee a finer malt. It’s a case of variations on a theme: yielding different expressions at different ages, as the oak influence intensifies. Moreover, the appeal of a malt may be a case of ‘less is more,’ or ‘more is more’. The ‘right age’ depends on your own palate."

He adds:

"Maturation can be divided into three essential elements. Subtractive maturation, like a ‘rites of passage’ for the ingenu new make spirit, entails the loss of immaturity. Additive maturation sees the oak endowing the spirit with colour, aromas and flavours, while interactive maturation refers to reactions between the spirit and the oak. This is something of a ‘mystical union’ that is not fully understood, yielding an additional range of characteristics that neither the spirit or oak possess individually."

I will leave it there.

Go to Save Caribbean Rum Petition!

Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a Bottle of 12 year last week and boy was your description right on the ball! Aromatic is exactly what it is! My brother tried some and he was confused to say the least. ''What is this?!'' he yelled from the couch!
It's really good!

Ah yes Dario, it is good isn't it?! Thanks Jamaica!

Annnnnyway, I'm extremely curious to see how the 21 year differs from its younger sibling.... You see, in Ontario (the only place I can get it without crossing the border) the 21 year costs 175 or something ridiculous like that! And I'd have to drive a couple of hours to get it!
Thankfully, I've had great fortune of late, with people I know leaving to all these great places where rum is numero uno! A friend of mine is headed to Jamaica next week and offered to bring me back a bottle of Appleton. The choice remains mine in the end.. I'm torn between the 21 and the 30 year. The 30 year might be too much for my budget to handle right now at near 400$ (in Jamaica!!!) since my collection has grown quite rapidly the past couple of months.

Can the SAQ wake up and import more rum?!?!?!?
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Cabin Boy

Joined: 14 Aug 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Columbus/New Port Richey

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday at the liquor store I had to choose between Cruzan Single Barrel and the 12yo. Got the 12. Little bit of pepper, little bit of sweetness and a whole lot of rum. Not sure if it's my favorite, but it's definitely on my top shelf.
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Minor God

Joined: 29 Aug 2012
Posts: 957

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a favourite rum of a very close friend of mine and he always brings a bottle when he visits (I take el dorado to him). I have bought this a few times myself and you just can't beat the quality and price. Highly recommended from me.
in goes your eye out
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Blade Rummer

Joined: 03 Nov 2014
Posts: 77
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great reviews! It's become my favorite rum over the years. I would love to try other Jamaican rums based solely on my enjoyment of this one but our liquor board here has a pretty limited selection, sadly.
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Rum Warrior

Joined: 11 May 2017
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Appleton 12 Haiku Review

Sweet Godly Nectar
The flavor of a nation
How I love you so
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