One of the best known rum producers in Alberta has got to be Appleton Estate. Now owned by Campari the distillery has been in action since 1749. In a favoured spot on the island of Jamaica the region receives daily rainfall which is ideal for their 4000 ha of sugarcane. Rich and fertile it is one of the few sugarcane areas on the island that does not need irrigation.
The property also has a natural spring, and this is the water used in the distillation process. It never runs dry and is one of the key components in ensuring Appleton has a unique flavour profile.
Appleton is made from sugarcane spirit distilled in copper pot and steel column stills. All of the Appleton rums are made from blends of distillate from the pot and the column stills.
The distillate that is created in the copper and column stills are very different. The column still creates spirits that tend to have fresh and fruity aromatics of banana, coconut, pineapple and other tropicals. The specially designed copper pot still creates a spirit with a very different character. This is where the Appleton signature orange peel characteristic comes from. Distillate from the copper pot stills have more depth and complexity with citrus and floral notes. It is the unique blending by the master blender that creates the range of Appleton Estate Rum.
Appleton has been lucky enough to have the same master blender for 20 years. Joy Spence began working at Appleton as chief chemist in 1981 and she took over as master blender in 1997. At the time she was the first female master blender in the entire spirits industry!
Responsible for ensuring the consistency and quality of existing blends, as well as creating new blends Joy is essentially responsible for the taste of Appleton as we know it!
A master blender must be an artist and a scientist able to understand the chemistry and be creative at the same time. In honour of Joy's 20th anniversary a special anniversary blend was created. Joy - Rare Jamaica Rum aged 25 years. Just released, Alberta was the first market in North America to receive the rum and we were able to taste it last week at the blending session! The blend is minimum age 35 year old rum from column still blended with 25 year old special stock from pot still. With great depth this is a very unique rum. The complexity and intensity is almost as if it is not a single spirit. There is so much going on it is hard to stop sipping to discover what character you will discover next - orange peel, azahar, vanillin, baking spices, tar, iodine, toast and oak with nothing overpowering anything else this is a beautiful rum!
Made in small quantities and hard to find but definitely worth the hunt!