The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2015

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september 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  1 13 W hen you've successfully produced rums continu- ously for 265 years, you don't need to look for ways to change what you're doing—you're setting the standard. Since 1749, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum has set the bar for crafted, award-winning rums by taking every aspect into consideration—from cultivating and process- ing the sugar cane, to time-honored aging and blending techniques. "Appleton Estate offers such a rich story to tell," com- ments Andrew Floor, Vice President, Dark Spirits at Campari USA, which markets the brand. "You can talk about centuries of cane-to-cup with this brand; you can talk about Master Distiller Joy Spence. Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum is a vanguard in the rum industry because of all of those things." FROM CANE Appleton Estate grows ten types of sugarcane on its property. What started as a way to avoid crop decimation due to disease was later realized by the distilling team as an opportunity to work with a variety of flavor depths and ranges that they could marry during blending. "While the initial reason was very practical, adding vary- ing flavors from the different strains gives so much more versatility, complexity and refinement to the final blend," explains Floor. "A lot of producers don't consider the flavor of the raw materials," he continues. Floor also explains that barrel aging serves as the primary flavoring characteristic for many producers, but Appleton Estate brings an addi- tional level of nuanced flavor through its high-quality raw materials, such as sugarcane, molasses, limestone-filtered water and proprietary yeast. The consistent flavor profile of Appleton Estate is due to nearly three centuries of aging and blending traditions that are still represented in each bottle of rum made at the Estate. Possessing the ideal climate for tropical aging in Jamaica's Nassau Valley (which allows the rum to mature three times quicker than it would in cooler climates), Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum matures in carefully selected Number One American oak barrels. As the rum develops, it transforms into a complex golden spirit that is smooth and mellow. Flavors such as vanilla, coffee, cocoa, hazelnut, and orange peel appear in the individual rums waiting to be blended to perfection, but it isn't until Master Blender Joy Spence gets her capable hands on the liquid that it all comes together. Spence combines different barrels of rum to create a proprietary blend. Each rum barrel is carefully selected and blended to create a specific flavor and aroma. After blend- ing, the rums are set to rest, which allows for the marrying of the various flavor components. TO CUP With Appleton Estates' production setting it apart from other rums, it's no surprise that the bartending and mixol- ogy community has responded in kind, celebrating Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum as it makes its way to the glass. "Bartenders love the flavor of Appleton Estate," comments Floor. "It is bold enough to stand out in cocktails and it offers that warm embrace from tropical terroir and wood. Today's bartenders are also storytellers, so they also latch on to the depth of the Appleton Estate story." To put Appleton Estate to the test, we turned to the aptly-named Rum Club, in Portland, OR. Bar Manager Emily Mistell notes that she puts Appleton Estate's signature flavor first. "Appleton Estate embodies Jamaica and is one of the most distinctive Caribbean rums," said Mistell. "You can really taste that Jamaican funk from the esters in the pot still; fresh banana and whatever natural yeast that's floating around the island." Although Appleton Estate is appreciated by professionals who can pick up on nuanced flavor notes, Mistell points out that Appleton Estate is a favorite among the rum-uninitiated as well. "We want to introduce the consumer to rum in a way that's really approachable, because a lot of people hear 'rum' and automatically think of something too sweet. Appleton Estate is a great way to introduce people to what rum actu- ally tastes like." So whether in Jamaica's Nassau Valley or the Pacific Northwest, from cane to cup, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum puts quality and premium flavor first. Fish Without a Bicycle ◗ 1½ oz. Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old ◗ 1 oz. Pedro Ximénez Sherry ◗ 1 oz. fresh pineapple juice ◗ ½ oz. fresh lime juice ◗ 2 dashes Angostura Bitters Swizzle all ingredients with crushed ice. Top with more ice for sno-cone effect; garnish with fresh nutmeg and pineapple frond.

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