Appleton 12 years

"A characterful, powerful and affordable rum that lets the distillate shine. This is probably the perfect introductory rum for entering Jamaican territorial spirits"

(Photo from Appleton)

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Appleton Estate belongs to the most famous and (suposedly) the oldest rum distilleries of Jamaica (dating back to 1749). They grow the sugarcane themselves in an environment-friendly way. I guess it is distilled from molasses, although we are not informed about the process. Maturation of their rums occurs in 40-gallon selected oak barrels to (and I quote) ” impart more vanilla flavour and make the rum smoother and less woody”. The 12-year-old Appleton Estate actually contains rums with a minimum age of 12 years (not self-evident in the rum world), which we obviously loudly applaud. Also no or little sugar was measured by others (you can find that here). 


Protruding nose with spices, light molasses, canned pineapple, and a slight petrol-like smokiness that I have found before in Jamaican rum. Next it becomes smoother with notes of caramel, but no overt sugars, aniseed, cough syrup, liquorice root and some oriental spices, which I cannot pin-point directly. Each sip begins with the typical Jamaican phenol smokiness reminding me of filling my car up with gasoline, and then smoothes towards more Spanish style rums. I think would be a very good introduction for rum-dummies to the Jamaican style, before starting the likes of Worthy Park or Hampden.


Light though tasteful and filled with tropical spices (coriander seed, ginger, star anise, cumin, turmeric, and liquorice root) and a slight saltiness. I am tended to say that this feels younger than 12 years, although I find it very good. There is some cough syrup, cane sugar, albeit that I can detect no overly sweetness due to added sugars. The palate also feels quite oily, which is nice, and a light sense of tropical fruits that include pineapples and mangos. The cask influence is very decent, meaning not fighting with the spirit. The finish is long with a good combination of petrol-ly smokiness, smooth tropical fruits and tongue-coating oils.


I must say I really liked this Appleton 12 years, a perfect rum for this price, a really nice sipper, meaning not to intrusive on your taste buds, and certainly not overly sweet. In summary, a characterful rum for the right price. As I already mentioned, this would be perfect to begin your journey into the world of heavy Jamaican rums. Recommended!

What others say

Rumratings: 7.3 (104 votes) * @Drinkhacker: A * @Therumhowlerblog: 92.5/100 * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 80/100 * @Thefatrumpirate: 4.5/5
Read for yourself

Thanks for the sample,


these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
Nose 86%
Taste 85.5%
Balance 86.5%
Depth 84.5%
Finish 86.5%