Jamaica

Review: Appleton Estate Signature Jamaican Rum by Jason Hambrey

Appleton Estate Reserve 2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
From Molasses
Distiller Appleton Estate (Nassau Valley, Jamaica)

This is the lowest end of Appleton Estate’s line of rums, which I quite like. This one is great in cocktails, which is my general use for it, but why not give it a review?


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

 The nose here is woody, full of molasses, fresh tropical fruit, over ripe banana, sharp baking spices, grapefruit zest, hard strawberry candies, and more brown sugar. Oozing with complexity, and it has a subtle layer of funky intrigue which I like. The youth comes out, slightly, but it’s quite minor.

The palate continues – lightly sweet, full of brown sugar, molasses, coconut, baking spice, oak, and tropical fruit, more on the dried side this time. The finish is lightly sweet, with vanilla, molasses, baking spice, and light oaky tannins.

This is very easy, and it makes complete sense why so many bartenders use it in premium cocktails. It has lots of complexity while also not being too intense in any one of them.

I definitely prefer the 12, but I would have no problem taking one of these either. With the way whisky prices are going, it’s nice to have some spirit options on the table that deliver powerfully for the cost. This is one of those (as is the 12 year old).


Review: Plantation 3 Stars White Rum by Jason Hambrey

Plantation+3+Stars.jpg
ABV
41.2%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Distilleries from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad

This is a white rum based on a blend of distillates from Trinidad, Jamaica, and Barbados. According to the brand, Barbados provides “richness”, Jamaica provides “structure”, and Trinidad provides “finesse”.

Plantation is a French producer of rum from Pierre Ferrand, a Cognac producer. They source distillates from all over the world, often bottling them with a fair bit of information on how the rum was produced. It’s a really fun way to explore rum, and they are generally decent quality. In Canada, most rum that are sold in the provincial liquor boards are rich and sweet, and only showcases one side of rum - and the side of rum that I don’t tend to like as much as the complex, dryer styles. It’s nice to see some of these make their way through to Canada.

This rum is made from column and pot distillation from Barbados, column distillation from Trinidad, and pot still distillation from Jamaica. The Barbados component is unaged, the Trinidad component is 2-3 years old, and the Jamaica component is 10 years old.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Overall, this is quite a nice white rum – far different from what you’d see in a basic Captain Morgan white or a Bacardi white rum. We have lots of notes - blueberry, spice, banana, brown sugar, bamboo, and lots of fruit notes. The palate is lightly sweet, clean, with berries and some jujubes. Clean light finish.

Assessment: Recommended - for a light rum. But if you’ve had a few good white rums, I’d say you could pass on this.

Value: Pretty decent, for $28.


Review: Plantation Jamaica 2005 Rum by Jason Hambrey

Plantation+Jamaica+2005.jpg
ABV
45.2%
Aging
13 yrs
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Long Pond and Clarendon (Jamaica)

This rum was distilled in pot stills at Clarendon distillery and Long Pond distillery, matured in Jamaica in ex-bourbon casks for 12 years, and then matured for an additional year in France in ex-cognac casks.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Very nice! It has a rich jamaican character, earthy and with loads of fruit. Spicy, briny, fruity - it is wonderfully complex. Orange peel, brown sugar, mixed baking spices, and a nice tannic ending. Earthy throughout, a rich character - it’s great! I do love these Jamaican rums- they are my favourite style.

Assessment: Highly recommended.

Value: I couldn’t find a price, but I’d say this is a good buy against the market at $50-$75.


Review: Hampden Gold Jamaican Pot-Still Rum by Jason Hambrey

Hampden+Gold.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Hampden Estate (Wakefield, Jamaica)

An aged rum bottling from Hampden, which is one of the most interesting distilleries in the world, in my opinion - they produce really complex, briny, and almost-smoky tasting rums. This isn’t sweet like many rums (many rums have added sugar).


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L194

  • Bottling Date: ~2019

Smoky, sharp, fruity, briny and spicy – clove and white pepper. Lightly smoky, and almost a bit sulphury. Molasses, green apple, lemon, orange peel, green olives – quite marine in character – and the spiciness seems to grow. Slightly oily and dusty, and an incredibly rich middle. A touch rough, but very complex and interesting. Very unique, I’m glad I have it. The palate is still briny, but with some growing caramel and a sharp molasses note. Olives are all over, and thick molasses grows towards the end. There is a big of smoky vegetal earthiness too, like some mezcals. The finish has baking spice, wood tannin, vanilla, light tannin, and chili. Oiliness seems to grow with time, along with molasses. Big for 40%, and still quite dynamic.

Very good and interesting, but not nearly as dynamic and powerful as the excellent Rum Fire Overproof white rum from Hampdens, in my opinion.

Assessment: Highly Recommended

Excellent value, especially if you get it in Jamaica for ~$14!


Review: Rum-Bar Barrel-Aged Gold Pot-Still Jamaican Rum by Jason Hambrey

Rum-Bar+Gold.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
4 years; first-fill ex-bourbon casks
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Worthy Park (Lluidas Vale, Jamaica)

I picked this up, after tasting it, in Jamaican duty free for 11$ - what a deal! Worthy park is a fantastic distillery in Jamaica, specializing in pot-still rums without any additives (no sugar!) although a lot of its distillate is exported in bulk. This is an example of a terrific, accessible rum which isn’t of a generic style just sweet and tasting of brown sugar, oak, and a bit of spice.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2019

Oaky, clean, sweet (not in an added-sugar sort of way), candle wax, charred oak, vanilla, gummy bears, prunes, dates, virgin coconut oil, honey, and green apple. Very easy, very interesting – much softer and easier than the overproof stuff – but also less interesting. It invites you right in. The palate is slightly sweet, with oak and dried fruit – it seems very much like a fresh bourbon cask. Slightly oily.

The oils come out nicely on the finish, alongside apple, light earthiness, honey, and baking spice.

Assessment: Highly Recommended.