More Than Rum; Jamaican Spirit
It’s hard not to notice the strong connection between Jamaica and Appleton Estate Rum. The rum, distilled for more than a quarter of a millennium on the island, is ubiquitous.
It’s at the airport, in every bar, heck, if you are staying at the Moon Palace Jamaica, its stocked in your room– and not a mini bottle, either, we’re talking full size.
Jamaica’s Oldest Rum Still Garnering Praise
Appleton Estate Rum is the flag bearer for Jamaican spirits. It’s widely recognized – and been appropriately awarded as such – as among the best rum’s in the Caribbean and across the planet.
Appleton Rums have been in production continuously since 1749, and the sugar plantations used to produce the molasses used in the rum have been harvested since the 1600s. In total, the estate, including the sugar plantations, refinery and distillery spread over 11,000 acres in the Nassau terroir, a unique weather, soil and geographic area that produces the unique flavor of the rum.
With so much precedence, Appleton could sit back and capitalize on its name and stature, but the distillery chooses to combine its history with forward thinking policies, including green policies and practices like using an ash-free boiler that only emits water vapor into atmosphere. Last year, it was named Rum Brand Champion by The Spirits Business.
Master Blender Makes More History
Appleton’s recent successes are largely due to the work of master blender Joy Spence, who made her own history when she was named the first female spirits master blender ever by the Appleton Estate 20 years ago.
That honor was memorialized by Appleton Estate with the release of its first ever 25-year rum blend earlier this year. The blend was named, what else, “Joy.” To hear Spence describe it, Appleton is as Jamaican as reggae as they use local, soft and sweet water that is added to molasses, along with specially cultured and locally produced yeast. Add orange peel, nutmeg and a variety of fruit notes that come out in their unique distillation process and the result is positively “irie!”
Taking the Appleton Tour
The combination of Appleton’s unique island history, the expansive beauty of its plantation and, of course, its continued preeminence as one of the most revered spirits in the world have long made the factory itself among the most popular destinations for tourists looking to get a real taste of Jamaica (pun intended).
Tours of the factory have been among the more popular activities undertaken by Jamaican visitors for years. Despite its popularity, however, the rum factory tour has been closed since 2016. That’s the bad news. The good news? It’s because the Appleton Estate is in the middle of a $10 million Appleton Estate Rum Tour facelift. You could say it’s being aged to perfection.
When the tour reopens in November, it will provide a completely new visitor experience that will include modern rum tasting rooms, a new restaurant and lounge – offering Appleton-infused Jamaican cuisine as well as the spirits – and a new retail room.
In total, the renovation includes a 23,000 square foot expansion to the tour, which will now show the estate grounds, distillery and ageing house. Don’t worry you’ll still be able to see how an actual donkey was used to crush sugarcanes to extract the juice used for molasses.
Further down the line, the estate is considering building a boutique hotel at the Appleton Estate and there are currently negotiations to renew rail service to the estate from a rail line to Montego Bay which hasn’t’ been operational since the 1990s and would halve travel time to the estate.