Appleton Reserve 12 ceramic jug


Average score

Bottle Profile
Distillery Appleton
Origin Jamaica
Bottler Undefined
Type Single Blended Rum (Pot + Column from the same distillery)
Alcohol By Volume 43%
Sugar Measured 0
Description Rare Old Jamaican Rum, aged in "12 tropical years" from 60/70's
Review 4


Review by "Lance" Score: 84

A "Rare Old Jamaican Rum" the ceramic jug says, and I believe it. In all my travels around the world, I've never seen this kind of thing for sale (and buying beer in a glass jar at a kiosk in the Russian Far East don't count). We're living through an enormous upswell of interest in rums, with new indies and new bottlers popping up every time we turn around...but stuff like this shows us that even back in the day, there was some amazingly well-presented juice floating around. Here, cool factor is off the chart. As for the rum? Very nice indeed. Aged in the tropics (of course - where else would Appleton be ageing its stock?) and better than both the other 12 year old we looked a the other day, and the modern one.

Nose: Initial attack is as dusty and dry as a mortician's voice (and he's wearing well polished old leather shoes, that's there too). Oily, vaguely like cigarette tar (not my favourite smell). Coffee and chocolate, citrus rind, and then a nice procession of tart ripe fruits...mangoes and red guavas. Some saltiness and dates and grapes, not much funk action as far as I could tell.

Palate: Some bitterness of unsweetened black choclate starts things off, hot salt caramel over a coffee cake (same kind of dessert taste I got on the last 12 year old).Wood shavings, some more leather, more cigarette smoke, and then the fruits timidly emerge - citrus mostly, also bananas (barely), and a dash of breakfast spices, nothing overbearing.

Finish: Weak point of the experience, after the above-average smell and taste. Dry, sawdust (the mortician is back, shoes squeaking), leather, light chocolate, caramel, and the barest hint of the fruits retreating. Not impressed here, sorry.

Thoughts: It's better than many other, more recent Appletons of various names (like "Extra", "Reserve", "Legacy", "Private stock" and so on) and those of younger ages, beats out the other twelves that have been tried...but not by leaps and bounds. It's not a furious game-changer. It sort of edges past them as if ashamed to be seen at all. A good rum, and I liked it, but it does leave me puzzled too - because I thought it could have been better and didn't understand why it wasn't.

Review by "Cyril" Score: 83

Une jarre en grès de 75cl des années 70 qui contient un rhum de 12 ans d’âge réduit à 43°. Existe aussi en 20 ans. A en croire les inscriptions sur la carafe, Appleton/J&Nephew était déjà en avance sur son temps avec un bien placé « aged in 12 tropical years« .

Nose: Robe vieil or cuivré tirant sur l’oranger, huileuse et extra brillante, elle dessine une couronne d’épaisses larmes, disque gras en surface. Au nez le rhum propose beaucoup de richesse, sur un confit cuirassé, gourmand et à la fois assez droit: des orangettes, du vernis, avec un léger cuir et une pointe métallique. Il y a sûrement dans ce rhum plus de distillat sorti de pot still, production moindre oblige. Compotée de mangue, quelques notes saumâtres, de la muscade et du zeste de citron. Le repos le rend terreux et renforce son côté torréfié, et l’alcool chatouille le nez. Belle présence et grosse personnalité, et très loin des rondeurs artificielle d’aujourd’hui. Entre notes sucrées, acidulées et grillées.

Palate: En bouche, le rhum est riche et huileux, sur un exotisme à cœur (excessif, pourrie), du chêne et du cuir. L’attaque est puissante et poivrée, puis arrivent les fruits exotiques, l’orange et toutes sortes de zestes (confit et acidité) ; puis ça semble se re-durcir, devenir encore un peu plus épicé et accompagné de réglisse. Une bouche qui va crescendo et qui fait la part belle aux épices avec une bouche chaleureuse et piquante.

Finish: La fin de bouche est moyenne et persiste sur les épices et ce poivre, asséchant la toute fin, avec un retour sur l’exotisme. Verre vide sur le bâton de réglisse et le café.

Thoughts: Un 12 ans au nez d’agrume opulent et à la bouche épicée ; il commence par vous flatter les sens avant de vous donner la fessée. Riche et puissant, un 12 ans aux antipodes du Rare Blend d’aujourd’hui, avec des notes torréfiées qui sont outrageusement remplacées aujourd’hui par de l’exotisme redondant.

Review by "Serge" Score: 91

Good, we’ve tried a similar jug, only a 20 yo, in 2015. It was utterly brilliant (WF 92, no less). Colour: deep gold.

Nose: oh this is crazy, amazing, wonderful, and it just leaves you speechless. Who said good news, who? Amazing tar and tropical fruits combination, with an endless and relentless arrival of all oils, olives, tars, ashes, plastics (really), liquorices, papayas, bananas, guavas, sultanas… It really is a stunning nose. What I particularly enjoy is this herbal/meaty side, in the back, with some beef, tarragon, even lamb… Look I haven’t checked if they were using dunder pits in those days, or if they used to throw dead goats or poultry into them to further enhance/stimulate bacterial fermentation, but what’s sure is that this is one of most complex noses I could try. Ever.

Palate: oh get out of here. First, it feels like 53% vol., not 43. And second, it’s totally ueber-rum, gathering every styles from Guadeloupe, Demerara, Barbados, and of course Jamaica. Enough said, please call the anti-rumoporn brigade!

Finish: wait wait wait, the finish is a little less nice, perhaps a little dry and drying, with a chalky side that’s not always good news. Perhaps some kind of jug effect. But no worries, it’s still brilliant.

Thoughts: legendary, big-bodied, and… eh, irrefutable. Whatever.

Review by "Marco" Score: 80

Dark amber.

Nose: Sweet caramel, tobacco leaves, cane sugar and leather. Bananas, mangoes and very weak oranges. Spices, including anise and black tea. Oak and toffee from the barrel. Further away from the glass I smell weak vanilla, caramel and cane sugar. Deep in the glass a very faint hint of glue, mangoes, bananas and papayas. Also the flavours fade out very quickly after the removal of the glass cover. Minerals and herbs in the background. Too much water.

Palate: Caramel, brown sugar, oak and cinnamon. Mangoes, butter and spices. The alcohol burns only a little on the palate. The rum is changing rapidly towards the herbal side and is also mineral-heavy on the palate. During the second sip briefly glue-like flavours. Then again spices, including cinnamon. Caramel and mango. Oak and leather. A slight bitterness emerges. Salt, smoke and old wood. The rum quickly becomes mono-dimensionally in the mouth.

Finish: Caramel, oak and cinnamon. A slight bitterness on the palate. Mangoes, spices and minerals. Herbs at the end. After the second sip spices, cinnamon, oranges and oak. Leather and Toffee. At the end again minerals, herbs and butter. Slightly dry at the end.

Thoughts: What is it with Appleton? What's the problem with their rums? Seriously I am more than dissapointed. After this long session in which I did taste over ten of their rums I can only say this: Most are nothing special.

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