Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum
Jamaican Rum 83.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2010
Review: Appleton 151 Dark
I have been told that Appleton Dark overproof rum is one of the most favoured rums on the Isle of Jamaica. This knowledge intrigues me as I often prefer cask strength offerings when I drink whisky. I do not believe this is due necessarily to the higher alcohol content, but rather due to the concentrated flavours in a spirit bottled at a higher than 40 percent alcohol volume. Now a rum at 75 plus percent alcohol by volume is another story entirely. At this strength we have a spirit which is much higher in alcohol volume than any cask strength whisky I have tried, and rum already having a vigorous flavour profile will be extremely concentrated at this strength.
In the Bottle 4/5
We have a tall clear glass rum bottle which displays the extremely dark brown spirit inside. I have made my point about the inferiority of pressed on screw caps in the past and will not belabour it here. Because the rum is reasonably priced I will not quibble unnecessarily with the presentation.
In the Glass 9/10
When I swirl the rum in my glass I see nice legs trailing back in the rum. I get a sense of power and richness from the nose which I like. The aroma from the glass is very strong with molasses, brown sugar spices and a heavy alcohol updraft. I do not believe this rum is meant to be sipped or enjoyed neat as I am about to do. But I must admit I was not expecting such a nice smell from the glass. The alcohol masks the individual scents to some degree, but I can identify spices akin to cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as a vague imprint orange and banana peel.
In The Mouth 50/60
I had to prepare myself for the first sip. It was a somewhat numbing experience. Sweet burly molasses and spice is about all I can say at this point as the strength of the alcohol numbs the palate before much else can be deciphered. I let everything sit in my mouth for a little while and decide that the flavour is quite complicated, but as I mentioned, the heavy alcohol strength has numbed my ability to distinguish anything individual. The rum is not meant to be drank this way, and I decide not attempt much more with a straight spirit. I added Coca Cola to the sipping glass in about a fifty-fifty mixture. This is a strong drink but fairly close to the typical strength of a normal rum now. I also mixed a fruit drink with fifty percent Appleton Dark and fifty percent of a grapefruit and pineapple juice mixture.
Both the rum and coke, and the fruit cocktail I mixed were very nice. They have more sweetness and more caramel flavour than I have noticed when mixing with other Appleton rums. A vague sort of nuttiness as well which I want to say is reminiscent of walnuts.
In the Throat 12/15
That first sip I took earlier had me gasping for breath for a few seconds. The intensity of flavour and alcohol was just too much for me to handle straight up. But I let my palate and throat rest and actually enjoyed the caramel and spice afterglow. My two cocktails each produced a thumping burn and a strong caramel aftertaste.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum is an intense, rich rum. If your preference is for a strong mixed drink, then there is a place in your bar for the rum, especially if you like burly molasses and strong caramel flavours. Although I found its flavours rich and intense, I did not find them overly complex. Brown sugar spices and caramel prevail with the alcohol bite masking the other flavours.
I am avoiding suggesting a cocktail entirely and moving instead to suggest that this rum will be at home in most rum punch recipes that call for dark rum. Its not that I do not think Appleton Dark 151 Proof rum should not be used in cocktails, its just that I think the strong nature of the rum will make a great base for Rum Punch.
I did a bit of research for punch recipes and the earliest recipe construction I could find was in the form of a poem from the New York Times in 1908. The poem does not give ingredients rather it gives an overall suggested form of ingredient types:
Here is the poem and its suggested recipe construction:
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.
Arctic Wolf’s JAMAICAN RUM PUNCH
(using the 1908 New York Times Poem Version)
1 cup of Lemon Juice & 1 cup Lime Juice (Take two of sour )
1 1/4 cup Pineapple Juice & 1/4 cup Grenadine (To one and a half of sweet)
1 !/2 cup Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum & 1 1/2 cups Appleton Estate VX Rum (Of Old Jamaica pour three strong)
3 cups Ginger ale; 1 Cups Orange juice ; a dash of bitters & Ice cubes (And add four parts of weak)
Garnish the punch bowl with tropical flowers, and a variety fruit slices, pieces and chunks.
My research also turned up a new version of this old poem which I found on many websites. No one seems quote the origin of this bit of poetry, so I’ll throw it out for anyone who can enlighten me so that I can give proper credit for this sparking dactylic gem:
“One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak.”
Using this cadence, the same recipe above will be changed slightly, and now the recipe is:
Arctic Wolf’s JAMAICAN RUM PUNCH
(using the more modern poem version)
1/2 cup of Lemon Juice & 1/2 cup Lime Juice (One of sour)
7/8 cup Pineapple Juice & 7/8 cup orange Juice & 1/4 cup Grenadine (two of sweet)
1 1/2 cup Appleton 151 Dark Jamaican Rum & 1 1/2 cup Appleton Estate VX Rum ( three of strong)
4 cups Ginger ale; a dash of bitters & Ice cubes (and four of weak)
Again garnish the punch bowl with tropical flowers, and a variety fruit slices, pieces and chunks.
I should mention that my friend forrest pointed out to me that the ice in each recipe is part of the “weak”. The actual quantity of the other “weak” ingredients should be lessened somewhat to allow for the melting ice.
I should also point out that these recipes are “Forrest Approved”! You can visit his great site for more cocktail suggestions and drink constructions.