Appleton Estate 21 Yr Old Rum
Appleton Estate reaches for the high rungs on the Appleton Estate ladder with their 21 Year old Rum. This is a limited release and is not available in all markets. Fortunately in Alberta where I live, the rum is; but I will admit, it is an expensive indulgence.
In the Bottle 3.0/5
I have to be critical at what I perceive is a lack of effort in the packaging of this product. The 21 year old Appleton rum is a limited release and very expensive, yet it arrives in exactly the same bottle with the same pressed on screw cap that the entry level Appleton Estate VX arrived in, (only the colours of the labels and cap are changed). Pressed on screw caps, in my mind at least, are not acceptable for a Limited Edition 21 year old rum. This rum will sit on my shelf for a long time before it is fully consumed. Unfortunately the screw cap is fragile, it will expand and contract at a different rate than the glass bottle, and I am sure to lose some liquid through evaporation. These caps also have a tendency to warp when they are first opened as the metal perforations must be broken to open the bottle. I will have to re-cork the rum with a high quality, high density synthetic cork after my review is complete.
In the Glass 9.5/10
The rum is a rich dark brown colour which leaves a thick film on my glass when it is swirled. This film slowly releases thick fat legs back into the rum. As I watch the legs slowly crawl down the sides of the glass, the rum brings forth mild brown sugar and orange citrus notes. But.. as you wait the nose begins to change. The soft brown sugar notes grow stronger and deeper and bring forth rich baking spices of spicy nutmeg, and pungent cinnamon. Pecans arrive with just good dash of vanilla making this almost smell like the sticky cinnamon buns I make at Christmas. Behind all of these wonderful bakery spices are sharp citrus zests and old oak.
In the Mouth 53/60
The rum is very soft, yet it has that signature Appleton Estate citrus spice that coats the tongue when the rum is introduced into the mouth. The spice is all orange peel and old oak, full of tannin and sap. The sweetness I sensed on the nose never really takes firm shape on the palate; instead a leathery tobacco and mild smoke seem to lurk in the rum ready to ambush any of the sweeter and milder flavours that try to exert themselves. The result is a mildly bittersweet dryness with flavours of raisins, tea leaves, and unsweetened cocoa shaping themselves into the dominant flavours. The rich brown sugar spices I loved on the nose are now more charred and toasted.
I sense the blenders are straining to contain the oak flavours after 21 years of aging, and perhaps they are losing the battle.
In the Throat 12.5/15
This is a relatively long finish with a dazzling array of bittersweet contradiction. My palate is left with flavours of brown sugar and baking spices which have settled into the sharp orange peel and oak tannin. The sharpness of the oak and orange peel contrast with the sweeter baking spices. At the very end cocoa and tea leaves seem to dry the throat but not the palate.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Appleton Estate 21 year Old rum is full of surprise and contradiction. I enjoyed just smelling the sweet richness of the rum, but had to search desperately for that same sweetness when I drank it. I yearned for the sweetness I could not find, but realized that the sharp orange peel and more bitter oak flavours would not allow this sweetness to assert itself. The promise of brown sugar spices and cinnamon bun deliciousness was never realized, and instead a complex bevy of bittersweet oaky flavours held dominance.
This particular rum has been aged for 21 years in the in the altar of oak. As is their right, the Gods of the Oak made a choice. They chose to quell the sweetness, and allowed the oak to master the rum.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Karma is a wonderful thing. I was trying to find a nice foil for the sharp tannin and creaking old oak I tasted in the Appleton Estate 21 Year Old. Wondering what to do I spied a bottle of Frangelico sitting on my shelf. Frangelico is nutty, creamy and sweet. A perfect foil for this particular rum.
Funny thing, my friend forrest had been doing something very similar with another rum he was trying. Talk about Karma or what. Anyway to make a long story short. Forrest and I, had from about 800 miles apart unknowingly each created the same drink. So we have decided to do a joint publication and each take half the credit. We through a few names back and forth, and finally decided to call the cocktail The Monk’s Uncle.
Here is The Monk’s Uncle Version 1
a cocktail by Arctic Wolf
2 Oz Appleton 21
3/4 Oz Frangelico
mix with a small amount of ice and serve
The Monk’s Uncle Version 2
a cocktail by forrest
2 Oz Appleton 21
3/4 Oz Frangelico
1/4 -1/2 Oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White
Dry shake to emulsify
add ice and shake till chilled
Strain into chilled cocktail glass
Flame foam with 50/50 Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters and Goslings 151
Of course this is very tasty
You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)