Very Smooth. A brilliant deep copper color accurately hints at the magnificent aromas to follow. Master Blenders' Legacy delivers trademark Appleton high ester bouquet and smells of dunder in good measure. Aromas of molasses, leathery old oak, vanilla, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg are exposed in perfect proportion, while scents of orange peel orchestrate the complex elements into a singular harmony. Appleton Master Blenders’ Legacy is not a shy rum, nor should it be. It’s big in the mouth; the full body delivers all the complex flavors you expect from the aromas. While the taste is immediate and forward, it is a bit softer than Appleton’s 21 year old, perhaps more humbly expressing it’s blended lineage. The long finish hangs with you, somewhat dry and delicate, sweet more like honey than caramel or sugar, with subtle spice adding a final interesting dimension.
Appleton Master Blenders’ Legacy was created using Appleton's most rare aged stocks, including their treasured 30 year old. These rums were tended to by three successive generations of blenders – current Master Blender Joy Spence, her predecessor Owen Tulloch (Appleton's Master Blender for over 20 years), and finally her protégé, Senior Blender David Morrison (an all around great guy with an addictive laugh).
Appleton divides its product portfolio into two main styles. Best known are the minimum aged rums, examples of which include the Estate 12 Year Old, 21 Year Old and 30 Year Old, which are characterized by heavy oaken barrel flavors. Every drop of rum used in the minimum aged products is aged at least as long as the label declares. Their other main style is blended rum, which includes V/X, Reserve and the rum being reviewed here. Appleton’s blended rums are sourced from as many as 15-20 various stocks, and are characterized by softer vanilla and caramel flavors. Master Blenders’ Legacy is somewhat of a rule breaker, combining some of the 30 year old aged rum with younger blends. Not to put too blunt a point on it, but sometimes mutts turn out to be wonderful companions.
Aged, blended, yessir. I waited a long time to sip Appleton Master Blenders’ Legacy for this review. Unfortunately, the first bottle I bought – on St. Vincent in late 2007 – was a shameful casualty of airline baggage (mis)handlers. It’s been three and a half years since that sad day, thus I was understandably anxious to sample the rum. Fueling my anticipation was a memorable dinner in Miami with Appleton’s Senior Blender David Morrison and other notables from Rum Renaissance Festival, celebrating the close of a highly entertaining event on May 1, 2011 (the day justice caught up with bin Laden).
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: May 2011 at the Rum Gallery, USA.