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Appleton Estate Extra

The history of Appleton Estate dates back to 1655, the year when England captured Jamaica from Spain, but the first known record of rum production at the Estate is dated 1749. It was during the English Empire when they discovered that rum that had spent a long time at sea, stored in wooden barrels, became smoother and more flavourful.

Appleton Estate rums are crafted using the traditional column still method and 'small batch' pot distillation method, which produces more flavourful rum than a column still.

The rums are aged in 40 gallon (151.4 litres) oak barrels and are carefully hand-blended by the Master Blender, Joy Spence, who also has each barrel checked individually before blending to ensure the quality of the rum.

The approved blend is placed in a vat to 'marry,' which means that during the marrying process the flavours of the rums meld together in the vat, producing fuller and more rounded rum. Once Joy Spence is happy with the blend, it is certified for bottling.

The Appleton Estate rum range includes: Appleton Estate V/X, Appleton Estate Reserve 8 Year Old, Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old, Appleton Estate Master Blender's Legacy, Appleton Estate 21 Year Old, Appleton Estate 250th Anniversary and Appleton Estate 30 Year Old rum. The last two are extremely limited editions and are very difficult to find. The 30 Year Old 1440 bottle limited edition rum has not been released yet, however.

Joy Spence's gift to the world is the blend that makes Appleton Estate Extra, consisting of rums aged for a minimum of 12 years in oak barrels in the tropical environment of Jamaica. This so-called tropical ageing has the advantage of giving rum the characteristics of older rums in less time. The only downside is that ageing in a tropical environment, like Jamaica, causes the rum to evaporate at a higher rate, which can account for up to a 6 percent loss per year.

The Appleton Estate bottles are all beautifully designed femininely shaped bottles that feel nice to the hand. The same design is used in all of the Appleton Estate bottles, beginning with the V/X, and ending with the 21 YO. What distinguishes them from one another is the colour used in the labels, the cork and the packaging. For instance, the Appleton Estate Extra's labels are black and the box is dark. The bottle in the picture features the new label design, where the 12 YO age statement is a standard, as opposed to the older bottling that has no age statement on the label.


In the bottle, the rum looks very vivid and appears almost red when inspected in the light. In the glass, the rum is deep amber with a brown core and at the stem of my glass it looks like liquid gold. There also appears to be a faintly green tint around the rim of the glass, which is a mark of the long time spent ageing in the barrel.

After turning the glass around while inspecting the colour, a few viscous droplets have formed on the sides of the glass, and are slowly making their way to the surface of the rum leaving behind thin lines as they go.


The aroma from the bottle nose of Appleton Extra is very sugary with dominant leather notes, but in the glass there is not so much leather as there is vanilla, burnt sugar aromas and a soft, slightly underlying cream aroma.

For this rum I found that a cognac glass is the most suitable drinking device, while the old fashioned that I normally use does not allow the multitude of aromas to be detected so easily.

The empty cognac glass has similar leather and sugar aromas as those detected from the bottle nose.


The flavours in Appleton Extra, beginning with oak, harmoniously surface in layers that give out vanilla, spice that leaves a warm glow in your mouth, a hint of anise and lovely cream. Some pot-still flavour is also noticeable. 


The aftertaste is sweet and woody with notes of coffee and soft cream again. 

Final thoughts

Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old rum is a masterfully crafted blend that could be mistaken for a fine cognac. 

Buy from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt.

  • Details at a Glance

 Single Blended Rum

Details at a Glance

Country: Jamaica
Aged: Minimum 12 Years
Barrel(s): 151.4 litre ex-Bourbon Barrel (Jack Daniels)
Style: Single Blended Rum
 Appleton Estate / J. Wray & Nephew
Annual Capacity:
ABV: 40%
Hydrometer Reading: 0 g/l

Legacy Gold Award

Relevant articles:
Appleton to Launch a very rare 30 Year Old Rum
Appleton Estate's Rum Tour - Shore Excursion Deluxe!
Appleton Estate Launches "Exclusive Edition Rum"
Appleton Estate 50 Year Old RumAppleton Estate Jamaica Rum Prime Ministers Reserve
Master Blender Joy Spence Receives Honorary Doctorate

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