This rum is quite extraordinary and a bargain at the price of $35. It has definite Jamaican rum identity and exhibits all the hallmarks of quality. It is very easy to see how it would be descended from Wray & Nephews. It was also night and day from Flor de Caña 18, though there was some slight character overlap in fraction 6 that I cannot definitely explain but is likely from barrel extractives. When you compare the two rums, the question is, which should be worth money? I would so readily say Appleton!
From a consumer and brand evaluation perspective, Appleton does seem somehow dated. Many of the reviews for Flor de Caña 18 cheered on its new bottle and label design like that was especially important. Appleton is an extremely sophisticated producer with probably amazing technical capacity. They would be wise to explore my Grand Arôme framework. Fermentation complications and rum oil are marketable. They are no doubt likely doing all the beautiful technical things, but not weaving it into their marketing arguments.
Fraction 1: Solventy non-culinary aromas. No extra intervals of aroma. Concentrated, but not exactly the biggest fraction 1 I’ve ever seen. It should be noted that the level here seems much lower than that of Wray & Nephews.
Fraction 2: Not exactly fruity. Nothing distinct.
Fraction 3: Banana estery aroma. Iso amyl acetate? Some of these fruit aromas are tricky to associate with anything specific and I’ve encountered some banana aroma in a lighter fraction 1 before.
Fraction 4: Definite fusel oil character, but nothing extra. Not shy, but not exactly the wraith.
Fraction 5: Positive for rum oil with beautiful persistence. Acrid to the taste, but palatable. All the hallmarks of quality.
Fraction 6: Slight gustatory acidity, faint stale barrel character, no rum oil.
Fraction 7: Noticeable gustatory acidity.
Fraction 8: Noticeable gustatory acidity. hard to distinguish between fraction 7.
Stillage: Quite a lot of acidity. I would love to titrate this in the near future.
I think I’m in love with spirits that have gustatory acidity from volatile fatty acids (non acetic).
In any new iterations of the Appleton product, they would be justified in easing up on the color.
Since we are so carefully dosing 100 ml of absolute alcohol into the birectifier, it may be practical to always evaporate the stillage to dryness and weigh (after drying with sulfuric acid). This would either measure the sugar content, or for producers forgoing sugar (and color via sugar), tell a little more about the extractive contribution of their barrels (obscuration).