Monday 10 June 2013

Appleton V/X - a bargain mixer

so its back to the quest for a good, everyday mixing rum and this time it's Jamaica we head to after the disappointment of Tesco's offering

Historical bit
Appleton Estate have been around since at least 1749, with the land having been granted to a Francis Dickinson in 1655 for his work during the conquest of Jamaica. As with all rums, sadly, his product in rum or sugar form would have been part of the triangular trade moving slaves, raw materials and finished goods between Britain/America, Africa and The Caribbean. Currently Appleton are owned by Wray & Nephew, who are famous for their deadly over-proof rum that you mainly see on fire atop a zombie.

Science bit
Jamaican rums typically use a by-product called dunder in their distillation. Dunder is what's left in the still after you're finished driving the alcohol off. This residue is high in nutrients and Jamaican distillers will gather this in "Dunder pits" and let it ferment then use some of it to feed the yeast for future brewings. Bourbon drinkers will know dunder as sour mash.

While it's fermenting the dunder will give off lots of esters, these are the chemical compounds which give you that pungent, fruity, banana-y smell that's so typical of Jamaican rums.

And on to the booze itself

  • Atmosphere - relaxing on a Sunday evening watching the British & Irish Lions beat Queensland
  • Around £20 a bottle
  • 40% ABV
  • A blend of 15 -20 rums produced using a mix of column and pot stills, all between 5 and 10 years old, hence the V and X.
  • Aged in ex Jack Daniels casks
  • Colour - golden honey
  • Nose - A grassy aroma with citrus and banana
  • Flavour - A little bit of vanilla, raisins and pralines, oranges and over-ripe banana bread, a bit rough around the edges and pungent
  • The finish is a little dry and woody but pleasant enough
As a sipper this is a non-starter really. The flavours, while good, don't balance in the same way a higher-end rum will. You can taste the potential this has, and Appleton do make some very good older expressions, but it's not quite there yet.

Now, stick this in a rum and coke and it's a whole different story. The slightly over-pungent aroma is taken off by the sugars in the coke and the fruity flavours compliment it beautifully, add a twist of lime to cut through it all and it's ideal for a sunny afternoon.

Definitely my go-to mixing rum and very reasonable at around £20 a bottle, a widely available rum in most bars if you're looking to wean a friend off the Bacardi.

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