In February of 2020 while attending an event where Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence was speaking when asked about new products, she made a veiled statement about “Soon Come”. In March I received the press release announcing this new version of Appleton 8 Reserve Rum along with the new bottle and label design they were bringing to the brand. This new rum is a blend of column and pot still rums that has been aged a minimum of eight years in used American white oak bourbon barrels. The rum is blended to 43% ABV and no flavoring agents are added to the spirit.
As noted in the introduction, the bottle and labels have been completely redesigned. The synthetic cork is held into the bottle with a wooden cap that has a metal insert with Appleton Estate 8 impressed on the top. The neck wrap is a colorful image of the estate that shows off the environment in which the rum is created. The front and back labels provide the basic information about the product. Agitating the liquid creates a thin band around the glass that slowly thickens, and over the next minute reluctantly releases several slow moving legs down the sides of the glass. The band continues to thicken and eventually beads up as the rum evaporates, leaving behind thick beads of residue.
The aroma leads with a lovely spicy vanilla note with ginger nipping around the edges. Fruity esters mingle with the vanilla and I clearly detect fresh orange peel, dried apricot, cooked banana, coconut meat and green apple. The wood notes form a nice baseline with the char notes manifesting as allspice and there is a café mocha note completing the experience.
Caramelized vanilla wraps the tongue as the alcohol lets you know it is present with a pleasant black pepper note. The orange peel note from the aroma has a strong presence, mid-palate a note of allspice, black tea, intermingle with cooked banana, dried apricot, and green apple fruit notes. The chocolate café mocha note manifests and lingers on the palate. As the flavors begin to fade I found notes of toasted coconut and copper that meld with the spicy fruit notes for a medium finish.
One of the things I teach in my rum tasting seminars is that the aroma that a rum delivers is the promise the spirit is making to the palate. Appleton Estate 8 Reserve Rum is an excellent example of this as many of the fruit and spice notes are found in the aroma are indeed delivered to the palate. I enjoyed the fruity esters, touch of HOGO, and the overall flavor product of the rum. While I enjoyed sipping it neat, this will be a lot of fun to use and may join Coruba as one of my go-to Jamaican rums for cocktails. Often times when a product is rebottled or there is a new formula we the consumers have reason to be concerned. I guess because of my faith in Joy Spence and her team at Appleton Estate I never had a doubt that the product would deliver an elevated experience. From hearing the hint in February to finally purchasing a bottle in September, Appleton 8 Reserve Rum was worth the wait and I look forward to sharing this one with friends in the future.