Extremely Smooth. Appleton 21 year old displays itself as a deep amber brown, as you’d expect from so much time in oak. The aroma is complex, full of Jamaican molasses and copper pot still smells. Appleton’s 21 year old positively exudes Copper pot still goodness - one sniff is evokes sensations of licking the swan's neck of one of the distillery's impressive copper pot stills. Of course, there's also aromas of caramel, oak, orange peel, coffee bean and hazelnuts on the nose. More subtle are the scents of cocoa and paraffin, yet there is no alcohol attack to the nose. A sleek body delivers wonderfully harmonious flavors beginning with coppery-oaken vanilla, crisp caramel and butterscotch, dried citrus and less pronounced walnut. Appleton 21 year old finishes warm, medium-long, and clean, with an added splash of spice – altogether complementing the rich tasting experience.
Appleton 21 year old is made from rums aged a minimum of 21 years, blended, then married once more in casks for at least another year. Only 12,000 bottles are made in any year. Each bottled is numbered, includes a descriptive pamphlet about Appleton and their rich heritage of producing rum since 1749. The 21 year old rum is the product of Master Blender Joy Spence, who carries well the distinction of being both chemist and artist.
As proud of this rum as they must be, Apppleton Appleton doesn’t flaunt it with overpriced packaging. About the only noticeable difference the 21 year old shows from their other bottles is the blue and silver label, and a humble “21” sticker. Even their usual screw cap is used. All the better, since there’s no time wasted looking at the stuff, you get right to the tasting – and what a reward it is. Enticing aromas followed by smooth, mature flavors, and a noble finish replace the harsh edges of some of their younger products. The taste is pure rum; with only time, talent, and oak to enhance it.
In early 2012 Appleton updated the packaging of their 21 year old rum to distinguish it from the yournger siblings. The new upscale bottle is shown in the data sidebar is the same as used for the 30 year old and Appleton Exclusive, which is available only at the distillery. The previous bottle shown at right.
It may take Appleton 21 years of aging and blending to create a truly exceptional rum, but its well worth the wait. Appleton 21 year old is an exceptional rum, delivering a near-perfect balance of classic pot still and smooth column still aromas and flavors. It belongs in any serious rum aficiando’s cabinet. Enough prelude then. Listen up lovers of heavy Copper Pot Still rums: Appleton Master Blenders’ Legacy is for you! Touché to Joy, David and Oliver – your legacies are well preserved.
Reviewed: December 2007 at the Rum Gallery, USA.