Review: Appleton Estate Rum Hearts Collection 1993 and 2002

Review: Appleton Estate Rum Hearts Collection 1993 and 2002

Appleton has been cranking out luxe special editions for the last few years, but none are more prized than its Hearts Collection, which comprises single-vintage pot still rums of exceptional age. The Hearts Collection began three years ago and soon comprised vintages from 1994, 1995, 1999, 1984, and 2003 — though we didn’t get a chance to try any of them. Now, Appleton is adding two new vintages to the Hearts Collection: 1993 and 2002.

And this time we did. Details and thoughts both follow.

Appleton Estate Rum Hearts Collection 1993 29 Years Old – A well-aged monster at nearly 3 decades of age, this hits the bottle at a bruising 63% abv. The nose is impossibly rich with spiced gingerbread and dark molasses, so dense it spills over into chocolate and coffee notes. Those notes are well represented on the palate, but it’s a little hard to get your arms around at full proof, the level of alcohol is just so intense. With water, and you can be aggressive here, the rum is able to show its true charms, adding in notes of Maraska cherries, burnt marshmallow, and a toasty barrel char quality. Aggressive and enduring well into its finish, there’s just enough sweetness to temper what can be a deeply savory experience, those blackstrap molasses notes dominating for the long haul. Things can get a bit gritty and dusky at times, and drinkers of younger, sweeter rums may initially find the experience overwhelming. Take your time, be generous with the water, and allow things to develop in glass. When treated with the utmost of care, it quickly becomes hard to put down. 3600 bottles from 13 barrels produced. 126 proof. A / $300 [BUY IT NOW FROM RESERVEBAR]

Appleton Estate Rum Hearts Collection 2002 20 Years Old – A veritable youngster at just 20 years old, with 5700 bottles produced from 20 barrels. Obviously lighter than the 1993, the nose offers a stronger vein of vanilla and caramel up top, and a more fruit-forward quality, too. Still bruising at full proof — and the same abv — water again lets this rum showcase its charms more completely. The overall effect is more familiar and less exotic than the 1993; if you’ve ever had old Wray & Nephew (or haven’t), this is a close approximation, showing off gritty barrel char, molasses, tobacco leaf, and lingering notes of ground coffee. And yet there’s a softness here that’s hard to describe, showing red fruits, hints of apple, and, with ample water, some floral notes — almost potpourri-like on the finish. It’s as soulful and rewarding as the 1993, but without the overwhelming savory qualities. I’m torn on which I like best. 126 proof. A / $220 [BUY IT NOW FROM RESERVEBAR]

Appleton Estate Rum Hearts Collection 1993 29 Years Old




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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