‘I’ve Converted!’ - Appleton Estate gains a new consumer
Last Wednesday, @23 in New Kingston hosted 12 friends from Mandeville who were ready and raring to go, as famous female Master Blender Joy Spence helped them gain an appreciation for Appleton Estate rums. Spence directed her master class under the theme 'The Joy of Rum'.
Talk about caressing your nostrils with the intense aroma of aged rums. The 12 were greeted by that scent along with the rum guru herself and Brand PR Manager Alison Moss-Solomon.
Among the 12 was Richard Mullings, who recently turned 50 years old and is an avid drinker of Appleton Special rums. His friends wanted to use the opportunity to convince him to join them on the estate.
The evening started a little off schedule but all were in good spirits as Spence began her master class and tasting session. "I am happy to share the joy of rum. No pun intended," she said with a chuckle.
The great rum blending teacher clarified that while Appleton Estate rum is a more premium blend of rums, it is not greater than Appleton Special rums - it is up to the consumer to judge which one they think is more satisfying.
Appleton Special is a fine, golden rum, with full-flavoured traditional pot still rums and lighter character modern column still rums, while Appleton Estate rums go through a longer ageing and blending process, even up to 50 years, giving it more body and a richer flavour.
The rum tasting began as patrons got familiar with the various types and blends presented to them. The glasses holding the premium rums were covered to preserve the smell inside for a breathtaking release when the time was right.
Spence allowed the class to see the differences between the quality and characteristics of aged rums versus un-aged rums. They were encouraged to nose the rums and then describe what they smelled.
Coco, coffee, orange, vanilla, hazelnut and coconut are a few of the flavours infused in the rum during the ageing process as they sit in American oak barrels for up to 50 years, Spence revealed.
Spence began explaining the different types of Estate rums. Introducing first the 21 Year Old, which is rich yet smooth and has been ageing for 21 years. Surprisingly, Mullings finished his glass and asked for more even before the sipping session ended. They were asked to then nose and taste the Signature Blend - formerly V/X, then the Reserve Blend, a blend of 20 rums with an average ageing of six years, followed by the Rare Blend, which is a spicy rum aged for 12 years.
Patrons then started to blend their own mixes of rum under Spence's tutelage. They used their new-found tasting and nosing skills to mix a blend to fit the specifications Spence asked them to meet. She then judged their original creations and Mullings' friend, Christopher Azan, had the best blend of the 12.
"I have converted! The class really helped," Mullings confessed to Food as the rum tasting-turned-cocktail party concluded.