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Yes, you heard us right, we were delighted to be asked to attend an exclusive tasting of the Appleton Estate Jamaica Independence Reserve 50 year old Rum at an exclusive event during the Boutique Bar Show in London.

The Boutique Bar Show this year took place in the beautiful setting of the Royal Horticultural Halls and upon arrival it took great willpower to walk past all the other interesting Rum brands on display and head straight to Appleton’s private room at the back of the exhibition centre but we knew it would be worth it, and of course it was.

The tasting started just after 4pm and the room was packed to standing room only, with a queue of people assembled outside trying to get a sneak peek of the main event. We were lucky enough to be sat right at the front of the room, so perfectly situated to take in the amazing aroma that could only mean one thing; the pristine bottle of Appleton 50 Year Old had been opened…

The presentation of this rum is beyond anything we’d seen before and really has to be seen to understand just how much effort has gone into making this an (almost) priceless product. The presentation case was specially commissioned from Ch. Dahlinger and includes a hard-back book explaining the history of Appleton and the background to this Jamaica Independence Reserve. The bottle itself is equally stunning, engraved with traditional symbols of the island of Jamaica along the side with a brass inlay adorning the front.

While the rum was being precisely measured out for the tasting, Diane Edwards, General Manager of J. Wray & Nephew gave a quick introduction to the evening before passing swiftly over to Jamie MacDonald, Appleton’s UK brand ambassador.

Jamie went into details about the history surrounding this very special rum, explaining that although it is Joy Spence (Appleton’s master blender) who has been instrumental in releasing this rum it was Owen Tulloch, the previous master blender and Spence’s mentor who had the foresight to lay down the barrels in 1962 in preparation for the historic occasion which this rum celebrates which is the 50 year anniversary of Jamaican Independence.

The Jamaica Independence Rum is a pot and column still blended rum, aged in Jack Daniel’s barrels and as with all Appleton rums, the age statement is a minimum age, meaning that some of the rum’s that go into this blend have actually been aged for as long as 55 years! It is bottled at 45% ABV and as we’ve previously mentioned there are only 800 bottles worldwide, of which only 40 have landed in the UK.

The Tasting

After Jamie had explained all about the rum (and sensing that the audience couldn’t resist the rum right in front of their noses any longer) he encouraged us to see what we thought.

The aroma which we knew was strong as soon as the bottle was opened was immediately noticeable, and although the signature Appleton orange was there, it was very subtle compared to the younger blends. There is a lovely mahogany note on the nose with waves of tobacco coming through too.

On the lips it was a lot smoother than I was expecting, it is unmistakeably Appleton from the start but the wood and charcoal taste gives way to delicious smooth flavours of vanilla and dates. The flavour and aroma stays for a long time, giving it an exceptional finish and we found the taste was still there 30 minutes after the tasting, It truly is an exceptional Rum which I think adequately reflects Appleton and their passion for producing Rum of the highest standards and exclusivity.

We of course knew this was a special occasion, and one we feel lucky to have been part of. Jamie hinted that although this was likely to be the last of the UK tastings of the 50 Year Old, plans were already afoot for an even more exclusive Rum, planned for 2062 

So although we’re sad we wont get to try this sensational rum again, when we first wrote about the Appleton 50 Year Old Rum we never in our wildest dreams thought we’d actually get to taste it, so we’ve ever so thankful to Appleton Estate and LDR London for being given the chance and we look forward to what Appleton will come up with next.


If this has inspired you to get hold of a bottle of the Jamaica Independence Reserve, it’s available for £3,500 at The Whisky Exchange  and if any of our readers do succeed in getting hold of a bottle, let us know what you thought, we promise not to be too green with envy!



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