Mon | Jan 25, 2021

Bartlett to receive deserving master blend at Hospitality Ja Awards

Published:Tuesday | November 12, 2019 | 12:12 AM
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett joins master blender Joy Spence for a toast in this 2018 file photo.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett joins master blender Joy Spence for a toast in this 2018 file photo.

Before the curtain comes down on this Friday’s RJRGLEANER Hospitality Jamaica Awards, a rare gem will be handed over to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett in a moment almost impossible to emulate – unless, of course, your name is Joy Spence.

Spence, the world’s first female master blender and the secret behind the magical spirits at the Appleton Estate, has been putting her years of experience into creating a special blend for Bartlett, this year’s recipient of the Pioneer Award for tourism excellence.

“It is a pleasure to be creating a special blend for Minister Edmund Bartlett to celebrate his award. It is truly deserved,” Spence told The Gleaner.

“Tourism, under his leadership, is doing significantly better today than at any other time in our history. His passion for gastronomy has given a different dimension to Jamaica’s tourism. I created a personalised blend of rums which reflects his vision of gastronomy,” added Spence, the woman after whom the top-flight attraction – the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience in St Elizabeth – is named.

Secret recipe

Spence noted that her secret recipe has rums – aged from 12 to 40 years – with beautiful spice and citrus notes, wrapped with powerful vanilla, coffee and almond notes.

The taste, she added, is exceptionally smooth, with layers of honey and oak.

“This blend can be enjoyed neat or with a few cubes of ice, while pairing with delicious pineapple jerked lobster or exciting chocolate dessert,” Spence added. “The rum is packaged in a beautiful handcrafted wooden box with two glasses so he can enjoy with his wife.”

Spence has the unique distinction – in a traditionally male-dominated area of expertise – of being the first woman to hold the position of master blender in the spirits industry. She is responsible for ensuring the quality and consistency of existing blends, creating new rum blends and monitoring Appleton Estate’s inventory of ageing rum stocks.

Bartlett joins the ranks of chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, who was the first recipient of the Pioneer Award in 2017.

Some 18 entities and two individuals will be recognised during Friday’s ceremony for their role in maintaining high standards in the hospitality sector.

Now in its fifth year, the RJRGLEANER Hospitality Jamaica Awards is being sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board, Ascend Innovation, Tai Flora Luxe, Caribbean Producers Jamaica, Guardsman Hospitality, Copa Airlines, Rainforest Seafoods, Tropical Tours, Best Dressed Foods, and the Montego Bay Convention Centre.