The dense tropical air is hot, humid, and perfumed with delicate florals. The road is rough, windy, and with the promise of something wonderful at the end.
As you traverse it, majestic vistas of rolling green hillsides covered with lush, wild vegetation are revealed, set against a backdrop of bright sunshine and dazzling blue sky. This is the way into the heart of Jamaica, the Appleton Estate which has been crafting legendary rum for more than 265 years.
The oldest continuously operating distillery in Jamaica, Appleton Estate, is nestled in the parish of St. Elizabeth within the famed Cockpit Country. The parish is known as the breadbasket of the island because its fertile soil yields much of Jamaica’s delicious fruits and vegetables, as well as the sugar cane used to make rum.
The nutrient-rich soil, tropical heat, and long days of warm sun punctuated by afternoon showers are what give these premium rums from Appleton Estate its unique terroir. Once reserved for talking about wines, the French term, terroir, refers to the set of characteristics an agricultural product gleams from its soil, climate, and geography. Just as wine’s terroir – the grape varietal, soil, topography, and that specific season’s weather – is what distinguishes a French wine, from a wine of Napa Valley or Australia, so does the variety of sugar cane, climate, and geography contribute to the terroir of a rum.
Appleton Estate rums are produced exclusively on the Appleton Estate and crafted with just a few natural, high-quality, ingredients: sugar cane, spring water, and yeast. Cockpit Country’s unique topography is what allows the Estate to grow such first-rate sugar cane – the region is one of only three Karst formations in the world. The Cockpit Karst formed over millions of years, as rain eroded an expanse of limestone. Within it are Poljes, where a river floods and then recedes over millions of years, creating a flat valley that’s covered by exceptionally fertile, nutrient-rich sediment. The Appleton Estate is the only sugar estate in the world located within a Polje, and that’s why the sugar cane grown here creates rum of such exceptional quality. The water comes from an on-site natural blue limestone spring that’s the start of the country’s longest river. The limestone softens the water, giving it a slight sweetness. Even the yeast used in Appleton Estate’s process can claim Cockpit Country as its birthplace. It was developed and propagated on the Estate, and has been handed down through generations.
All these elements contribute to the unique terroirof Appleton Estate that adds to the rums beautifully complex flavor and aroma profile. Try Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum’s three award-winning core varietals: their V/X (honey-colored, with notes of citrus and apricot), Reserve (full-bodied and smooth, scented with vanilla and nutmeg), and Extra 12 Year Old (deep bronze, with a bouquet of fruit and cocoa). You can also savor the Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum (a mature spirit with a long brown sugar finish), and the limited Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum (an exceptionally smooth blend with a honeyed oak finish). Sample each of these fine aged rums and discover the warmth, passion, and unique spirit of Jamaica in every sip.