Explore the 400 year old history of the world famous Appleton Estate Rums along with a taste of how excellence is achieved. In no time at all you’ll feel the spirit of Jamaica and all proudly declare, “We Are Rum People!”
The history of rum and the Caribbean are deeply entwined, with roots going back 400 years. As Europeans began colonizing the region in the 17th century, after the dream of striking it rich with gold faded, plantations began to spring up. The first sugar-cane plantations began to spring up and, although sugar itself was the cash crop, almost immediately planters began using byproducts like molasses to distill a primitive version of white rum.
At first, rum was distilled in pot stills; later, more sophisticated column stills allowed for easier mass production. It was soon discovered that storing rum in oak barrels mellowed the natural harshness of the liquid, and aging of rum began. In mythology, rum and the pirates of the Caribbean region became intrinsically tied. Aside from the idea of sailors in port having a grand old time, rum was actually a health measure! That’s right a daily ration of “grog” (rum mixed with water and lime juice) became standard for sailors of the British Royal Navy; a tradition that lasted well into the 20th century. This was to not only replace the unclean water which could lead to stomach and other ailments, but the lime was also an element to help combat scurvy, a particularly unpleasant affliction many sailors would experience without fresh fruit and Vitamin Sea.
But, let’s face it rum is mostly synonymous with having a great time and is at the heart of many of the images we recognize from vacations in the Caribbean; balmy tropical breezes, upbeat relaxed musical rhythms floating in the air, sand between your toes and a delicious rum drink in hand. In Jamaica, you can take it one step further and actually spend the day learning how rum is made, both in days gone by as well as how all of the delicious premium rums from Appleton Estate are made today.
Today, rum is available in a variety of forms, including light, gold, dark, spiced, and premium rums. Light rums are an almost clear golden color, are aged the least and filtered the most. Gold rums are aged for a few years in special barrels. Dark rums are aged in heavily charred oak barrels, which gives it a much deeper flavor while premium rums are carefully blended in small batches, and aged for many years to smooth and mellow their flavors, like a fine cognac.
The Appleton Estate Rum Tour is located in the heart of the Nassau Valley in some of the most beautiful countryside in the parish of St. Elizabeth on the south coast of Jamaica. Only a 90 minute trip from the main tourist mecca of Montego Bay, this is an excursion that will be one of your best vacation stories from your holiday on the island. As you step through the gates they’ll start the tour off right, as you’re are taken to the reception area and handed a glass of some of the finest rum punch you’ll probably ever taste. The knowledgeable (and entertaining) guides will bring the history alive on the fun tour but make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and take a bottle of water as it can get a little hot in the distillery section itself. Don’t forget to snap some pics along the way to create some serious FOMO from the folks back home, both on social media and for when you’re busy regaling them with stories of your trip when you get back home. Several spots have epic views and you get to capture shots with a donkey, you grinding your own sugar cane, a vintage vehicle and well shots of you doing a shot!
On this tour you will learn the historic production process of Appleton Estates’ Rums. You will see earlier methods used to remove juice from sugarcane, see molasses in its raw form, learn about the distillation process in their 200 year old pot stills and visit one of the Estate’s barrel houses where rums age to excellence. Throughout the tour you get to taste molasses and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, you will even get to squeeze your own! The tour ends in the immensely Instagrammable warehouse with rows upon rows of oak barrels where rum is being aged. You’ll see the years on each barrel and be taught about the wonders of ‘angel’s breath’.
The real tour however ends at the rum tasting! There are 13 types of rum to sample so odds are if you weren’t already grinning from ear to ear this part will definitely get you there!
For those of you who are looking for something extra special keep an eye on their social media page as special rum tastings with Joy Spence herself hosting the tastings and teaching you how to feel like a true rum connoisseur!
Pop by the jerk pit for some delicious authentic Jamaican cuisine afterwards and then stop by one of the gift shops for a souvenir of a truly special experience. What better souvenir in fact than one of the specialty premium rums? When you get home, wherever that is, whether elsewhere on the island or off of it, you’ll have something special to look forward to. Sitting back with a tumbler in hand and reminiscing about your day spent exploring one of the best distillery experiences in the world. A 12 or 21 year old aged premium rum is a distinctive treat but did you know that there is even a possibility of owning a 50 year old rum, said to be the oldest barrel aged rum available for sale in the world! Only 800 bottles of this very special blend was ever made and is meant to be savored neat. The truth is every rum with the Appleton Estate name should be savored and the same goes for the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Tour Experience itself.
To make your booking today, check with your travel agent, the tour desk at your hotel or go to www.appletonestate.com to make a reservation.
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