Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Rum

After finding and enjoying the Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum, I ran across a bottle of Rare Blend 12 Year Old Rum. Unlike some (many) other rums, Appleton lists the actual age of the rum for their products with an age statement. So this is truly a 12 year old rum.

The reviews indicated that this was a fantastic bottle of rum, and while you can use anything for a cocktail, this was described as a rum to drink neat or on ice.

When I first saw it, it was listed as $32. That is a non-trivial price for something I’m not sure of in a spirit. So, reviews, and YouTube videos, and checking my sofa for change. And lo and behold, the ABC store runs it for sale at $28. Well, I had to take a chance on it at less than thirty dollars, right? Not so fast! So I did what most people do. I found a way to justify it. It was a couple of months until my birthday. I’d buy it now as a birthday present for myself! And I did.

The decorative packaging

I actually put it in the cabinet until my birthday. When withdrawn from the cabinet, and the top removed, I was greeted with a bit of oak, a bitter orange, maybe brown sugar, or something similar, and I’d almost swear, pineapple.

The taste sticks around for awhile. The sweetness is there, and the alcohol burn is held in check. There is some spicyness that may come from the barrel. The Appleton Signature Blend has a harshness that isn’t present in the Rare Blend. In descriptions of many rums, there term ‘funk’ is used. I don’t know if I can define it, but I know it when I taste it. There is definitely fun in Appleton rums. And that is a good thing!

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $28 (on sale) for 750ml (normally $32)

Buy again: Yes (but only on sale, or for my birthday)

Ron Zacapa 23 Rum

Holy Moly! Ron Zacapa 23, now that is rum! This is a fantastic top shelf rum. There is a pleasant sweetness, molasses, honey, banana, maybe vanilla, a subtle spiciness, something fruity, along with a mild alcohol bite. As much as I like Plantation, and I still like Plantation, this is an incredible rum!

There is considerable discussion online regarding the labeling of “23” on the bottle. On other spirits, it is considered bad form, or in some cases, is illegal, to state an age unless that number is accurate. In the case of Ron Zacapa 23, it is not 23 years old. If it was, it would be far more expensive. It is thought to be a blend, including some amount (who knows how much) that is 23 years old. Some say it is more likely 6 to 8 years old. If you want to know more, there is a detail articles (with charts!) here: https://refinedvices.com/ron-zacapa-part-ii-solera-system-explained

There is also a great deal of discussion about rums, including this one, having added sugar. Purists are concerned/offended/angered/insert-adjective-here. I don’t care, and will continue to enjoy the rum for whatever it is.

Age: Thought to be a blend of rums distilled from virgin sugar cane aged between 6 and 23 years, in white oak casks.

Proof: 80% (40% ABV)

Price: (It was a very generous gift from my son!) On the shelf it is $50 for 750ml

Buy Again: Yes, but I’ll have to save my pennies and save it for special occasions!

Plantation Grande Reserve 5Y

Ah. Rum plus sales price, equals win. There’s always a chance to try something new with less risk, and with the possibility that it will be a great option to buy again.

I am a fan of the Plantation Double Aged Dark rum. So I decided to give the Grande Reserve 5 Year a try. It is the first truly “aged” liquor that I have purchased. Anything else that is I have that is labeled as “aged” is a blend of ages. This is supposed to be aged for five years. There is no way that I can confirm or deny, but it has a distinctive flavor that comes from being in a  charred barrel.

Upon  opening, the smell is banana, sugar, and alcohol. I taste a slight sweetness, hint of char, alcohol, and that banana flavor. I can almost drink it chilled or over ice in small quantities, which for me, is saying something.

Update: I’m sipping it in small quantities! It is less harsh than the Appleton Signature Blend. I get an almost caramel sweetness, and a hint of banana.

It makes a good Rum and Coke, but I’m curious how it will be in other cocktails.

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $22 (on sale)

Buy Again: Probably

Plantation Original Dark Double Aged Rum

As with many of my purchases, I’m waiting for a sale. When Plantation Original Dark Double Aged Rum went on sale for $15 per bottle, I checked the reviews immediately. Most of the Plantation rums are well regarded. I watched a Common Man Cocktails review of the family including the Aged Dark, along with quite a few online ratings. Reviews behind me, I walked in to the ABC store, took a hard right, walked through the center of the store and right up to the Plantation, grabbed a bottle, checked out, and headed back to the Lair.

Upon opening the bottle, I was struck by the very pleasant aroma. It was sweet and fruity and had the funkiness that I kept reading about. Even that wasn’t unpleasant, just different. I also got no hint of alcohol! A little poured into a shot glass. I could almost drink this on ice! This was a new moment for me.

When added to cocktails, it yields a sweet and funky drink. I could be happy drinking this with Coke and never trying another cocktail or spirit.

But I think I’ll keep trying, anyway.

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $15 (on sale)

Buy again: Yes (Absolutely, have a second bottle in the wings!)