Brand: Blackwell

Origin: Appleton Estate, Vauxhall, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

Still: Pot & Column Blend

Age: NAS

Finish: ex-Bourbon*

ABV: 40%

While there are a few rum brands out there that have connections to celebrities, Blackwell Fine Jamaican rum is deeply tied to the DNA of the island on which it was distilled. Anyone knowledgable about Jamaican music history will likely recognize the Blackwell name as belonging to Chris Blackwell– the record producer and founder of Island Records.

Blackwell and Island Records were instrumental in bringing Reggae and Ska music to the world in the 1960s and 70s, and eventually brought another great Jamaican export– rum– to market in 2008. Blackwell Fine Jamaican rum is allegedly formulated from the recipe that was used in the days Blackwell's mother's family owned J. Wray & Nephew and Appleton Estate.

The rum is a pot & column blend presuambly distilled by Appleton Estate. The presumption is based on the fact that the Blackwell label says that the rum was "distilled, aged, and blended" by J. Wray & Nephew, which is a rum brand that owns the Appleton Estate distillery and has no distilling capabilities of their own. After distillation, the rum is aged in ex-Bourbon casks for an indeterminate amount of time before being bottled at 40% ABV.


Orange-brown, medium clarity, low viscosity


Molasses, fig, pear, dough


Cinnamon, fig, molasses, red apple, tobacco leaves, caramel


Short, savory, touch of dark fruit; fig, cinnamon-sugar covered apples, tobacco leaves

Rating: 5/10


Blackwell has a somewhat subdued nosing experience that offers molasses and dough, joined by some subtle fruits by way of fig and pear. Baking spices come alive during the palate, with cinnamon, fig, and molasses featuring prominently, while tobacco and caramel bring up the rear palate.

I would be interested to see how this fairs in a blind tasting alongside spiced rums, as the spice notes are very present, moreso than other rums– Jamaican or not. In terms of Jamaican rums go, this is probably the least funky that I've found, coming in just behind Appleton Signature in that regard.

If that piques your interest, or if you don't mind the ~$25 price point, then I'd suggest grabbing a bottle. Otherwise, I wouldn't go out of your way to seek this out, but Blackwell could definitely work in a pinch if that's all that is available.

Further Reading

*When the type cask used for aging is not specified, we make an educated guess that it is an ex-Bourbon cask as most aged rums utilize this barrel type.