Recently, Appleton — the pride of Jamaica — announced a new permanent addition to its lineup of rums. The new 8 Year Old Reserve, from Master Blender Joy Spence, is designed to be “Appleton Estate’s most versatile expression of aged rum.” It also coincides with a relaunch of the entire brand, which features new bottle and label designs across the board. All the liquid in the bottle is a minimum of 8 years old.
Fans of the Appleton brand will find plenty to enjoy here, though it’s lighter on its toes than previous expressions. The nose feels fresh, with ample alcohol but plenty of fruity esters, some baking spice, and a swath of orange peel. Lightly oaky, there’s a note of chocolate in the nose as well. The palate is again quite light, almost thin at times, informed by lots of vanilla, chocolate, and orange peel. A touch of hogo — coming across with a slight hint of curry powder — provides some depth, though the overall impact remains muted on the finish — almost basic at times.
This is a fine rum for mixing, but it doesn’t have the gravitas that you might be seeking in a straight sipper — and which you might be used to from the rest of Appleton’s lineup.