Appleton Estate Jamaica 1995 Hearts Collection 100% Pot Still 25 Year – 63%
Stats: Appleton Estate’s “Hearts Collection” is a series of long aged 100% pot still rums at high proof, in limited editions, released in collaboration with Velier. The initial three bottlings were vintages from 1994, 1995 and 1999, all aged at origin (I’ve previously posted a review of 1999).
The rum featured here comes from a batch of twelve casks that were distilled on a Forsyth’s pot still in 1995 and aged in Jamaica for 25 years, producing 3,000 bottles at 63% ABV. The marque and ester count is not disclosed but the total congeners are 1440 g/100 LAA.
Background: About a year after the Appleton Hearts Collection was announced and flooding auction sites for exorbitant prices, a small allotment miraculously popped up at retailers in TX. After deliberating my financial situation and realizing I can’t afford all three, nor can I select just one, I felt the best way forward was to hourang two friends into going in on these with me so we each shell out about $300 and acquire a third of each bottle.
Conditions: Enjoyed neat in a Glencairn over numerous sessions.
Nose: Heavy barrel spice, black pepper, cinnamon, tobacco, chocolate, orange liqueur, green tea, toasted nuts
Mouth: Tar, industrial funk, dank wood, pen ink, butterscotch, mothballs, sharp vanilla
Final Thoughts: I was so excited for the opportunity to try 100% pot still Appleton rum. My initial flight of the three Hearts was thrilling. I even paired them up against Appleton 21 and Joy for the sake of comparing long aged pot/column blends from the same source. The pot still funk and higher ABV of the Hearts delivered so much more character and each vintage brought forth something unique.
Unfortunately, when revisiting them all on their own one by one, I found the 1995 to have an unbalanced, over-oaked profile with very funky/industrial notes. I was hoping for something more fruity, wild and fun, more akin to a high ester Hampden, but this sits more in the pantheon of a Caroni, which doesn’t typically agree with me.
There may be some sticker shock bias or perhaps my expectations were set too high, but I have so many rums at half the cost that I enjoy far more than this. For historical purposes, I appreciate what this is, but I’m left longing for greater dynamics, depth of flavor, and overall excitement. Instead I have a lingering mothball taste in my mouth and am craving Hampden.
My Rating: 3/5
1 – I don’t want this in my mouth ever again
2 – Underwhelming
3 – Decent tipple
4 – Very enjoyable
5 – I always want a bottle of this on my shelf