Brand: Appleton Estate
Origin: Appleton Estate, Vauxhall, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Age: 15 years
Appleton Estate is likely to be a household rum name by this point (if your household likes to drink rum, that is), so I won't dive too deep into the background of this rum. This distillery produces fruity, lightly funky Jamaican rum at such a scale, that you're likely to find their Signature Blend on a liquor store shelf or on a backbar in most parts of the world.
The 15 year "Black River Casks" is a newer release from 2021 that further fills out an already impressive vertical lineup of rums; it sits on the older end of the Appleton range of Signature, 8 year, 12 year, 15 year, and 21 year (not including special releases).
High clarity, golden brown, light viscosity
Orange marmalade, black tea, marzipan, vanilla, pear, ripe tropical fruits (bananas, pineapples, mangoes)
Baked pineapple, candied oranges, oak, banana bread, black tea
Short, with oaked tannins, black tea, and overripe tropical fruits
Appleton Estate 15 year exhibits a fine profile of lightly funky, fruity, and oaked Jamaican rum. For fans of their 12 year, the 15 does a lot better at refining the oak notes and still providing a good bit of flavor.
The nose starts out with orange marmalade and black tea, leading into pear, marzipan, and an assortment of ripe tropical fruit notes. It is warming, and includes some signature Appleton Estate notes that you may find in their younger expressions.
Baked pineapple and candied oranges leads the palate, followed by banana bread and some black tea flavors, along with a short bite of oak. This really showcases how the 15, while enjoyable, is really just a slight iteration on the 12. Despite being aged longer, it manages the oak tannins a bit better than the 12, but provides a lot of the same flavors, and at a higher price point.
The finish is short, sweet, and to the point; oak, black tea, and overripe tropical fruits linger after tasting the rum.
Like most of Appleton Estate's lineup, the 15 is a good rum, but decidedly shies away from being great. For me, this is likely down to the relatively low proof (43% ABV) that this is bottled at, which is what the rest of the Appleton Estate lineup is bottled at, aside from their Signature Blend. In my opinion, I see a finely blended, long-aged rum bottled below even 90 proof a bit disappointing, especially at the price tag many 12+ year rums go for. This bottle's price point ($60-75) is not unfair in my opinion, and may be just affordable enough for someone to make the step from the 12 year, instead of the giant leap to the 21 year.
Ultimately, this is a fine sipper that continues Appleton Estate's tradition of crafting accessible, tasty rum.