If you have never heard or Appleton Rum, much less tasted it, you are seriously missing out. Appleton rum is one of Jamaica's prized jewels. It is over 265 years old (old right?) and is located in the fertile Nassau Valley, St. Elizabeth in the heart of Jamaica. Here's a little back story on Appleton Estate. It is said that the authentic Jamaican rum was produced in Cockpit Country and is produced on the estate itself. It is the only rum in the world that has a terroir (set of unique weather, soil, geographic demarcations that imparts a unique quality to the rum) unique to the estate's location. Did I mention it's the oldest distillery and sugar estate in Jamaica?
Now for the tour, which by the way is temporarily closed till November 2017 due to extensive upgrades and renovations. Lucky for me I was able to go way before all that, like a very long time ago. The tour cost USD$25 (the cost might change when the tour reopens) and the tour lasts for about 2 hours give or take. The tour started out simple enough with a complimentary drink of rum punch (best rum punch you'll ever have!). Then we officially started the tour with an estate tour guide who led us to what looked like a donkey pen. Yes I know that sounds strange but this pen was actually a donkey driven mill used to extract the cane from the shell by inserting the cane stalks into the mill. Let's just say there were a lot of vintage tools on this tour. Anyway, we got to see how cane juice is extracted and we got to taste it as well. (delish!) We also tasted other by-products of the cane such as molasses and wet sugar.
We then went to the distillery (my memory is a little foggy now) where about 10 million litres of rum is processed annually. Now my 2nd favorite part was the aging house. I felt the rum seeping through my pores at this point and the smell was just heavenly. I truly felt you could get drunk just by being in there. The aging house had thousands of barrels where rum is stored for fermentation.
My favorite part of the tour was the end. Don't get me wrong the tour is amazing and you learn a lot but the end is where the real fun happens. You get to taste, I mean drink 13 different kinds of rum including Appleton V/X, Appleton Special, Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum, Wray & Nephew Rum Cream and others. They also gave us a small souvenir bottle of rum after the tasting as well. If you want to purchase any bottles of rum they also have a gift shop where you can get a glimpse of the very rare limited edition Appleton Estate 50 year old Jamaican Rum which retails for USD$5,000. So you know that bottle is in a glass case right, as there were only 800 bottles made.
They also have a special bottle called Appleton Estate Joy, rare Jamaican rum aged 25 years which celebrates Dr. Joy Spence as the first female master blender in the spirits industry to hold the position of Master Blender, which she has held for 20 years. Her other creations include Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum, Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old, Appleton Estate Master Blenders' Legacy and the Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum.
Well that's it for the rum tour. Remember it reopens in November of this year. Check out the slideshow below from the tour.