Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection

Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection Rum Review by the fat rum pirateAppleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection. I’m going to get this out of the way now – I am extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity by Joy Spence (Appleton Estate) and Luca Gargano (Velier) to get the chance to try this particular rum. I must express my gratitude to them for sending me samples of both this and the 2003 Hearts edition. (As well as the 1990’s vintages they sent last year as well). Thank you much appreciated.

Now all the Hearts Collection rums are something quite special from Appleton Estate. As a producer Appleton has kept a fairly consistent core range of rums with only very occasional new releases and special editions, over the years. These Hearts Collection rums are certainly shaking things up a little.

The rum in my glass today is thought to be the oldest 100% Pot Still Single Marque Rum ever released. You’ve seen older rums I hear you say? Yes you’re quite right let me add some further information.

This rum has been entirely Tropically Aged at source in Jamaica.

Yes that’s right 37 years in the heat and humidity and fluctuating temperature of the Tropics. So bearing in mind what we know about the Angel’s Share – how have Appleton been able to bottle this rum and how scare is it.

For the worldwide release of this vintage there will be 1800 bottles available. If early prices are anything to go by then we are looking at around £/€1000 for a 70cl bottle. Which is a fair chunk of change by most peoples standards. That said I’ve every confidence this will be snapped up fairly quickly and those bottles that are not bought for drinking will be fetching even higher prices in future on the secondary market.

So lets get a few facts about this bottling Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection was distilled back in 1984 (I was only 6 years old at the time!) and was bottled in 2021. Hence 37 years old. As the bottle count suggest this is not a Single Cask rum. It is made up from rums aged in casks 3391 to 3399. On the front label the total congeners are noted as being 2197g/100 L.A.A. When the rums were originally placed in the barrels the congener count was around 350 g/100 L.A.A

As well as being sent samples of these rums I was invited to a Zoom Tasting with Joy and Luca. During this discussion the Angels Share was mentioned. Luca suggested that the Angels Share of this must have been around 95%. However Joy Spence advised it was much lower than this.

Joy then went onto explain that (and I don’t know if they do this wholesale across aged marques) the barrels containing the 1984 distillate were topped up every 3 years. Now when we talk about topping up its a little more complicated than that.Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

Firstly the barrels are checked that none have spoiled and the profile in each barrel is similar. As evaporation has already begun the barrels will no longer be full to capacity. So the barrels are then emptied into a larger Vat before being immediately re-filled back into the barrels. Obviously at this stage not all the original barrels are needed.

This process occured every 3 years during the 1984’s ageing. Joy advised that the less oxygen in the barrel ie the fuller it is – the less evaporation occurs. Joy suggested an Angels Share of around 35%.

What was particularly interesting about this “revelation” was that even Luca was unaware that Appleton Estate carried out this practice. It was nice to see someone with such experience learn something new and not only that take his “mistake” with good grace. Something that some Rum Enthusiasts could certainly learn from………

In terms of the marque used for this rum unfortunately Joy would not reveal this. Even Luca does not know what marque it is.

Never mind. So lets see how this rum tastes after 37 years in the tropics.

In the glass we are presented with dark brown liquid – almost mahogany in colour. No surprise I guess after 37 years of tropical ageing.

The nose is quite spicy with notes of cinnamon and quite a lot of nutmeg. It’s quite peppery as well. Beneath this comes a waft of orange citrus, marmalade and some lime juice. This moves along and is enveloped by a rich warming vanilla and some dry spicy oak.

The nose is incredibly intense and very complex. It is oaky but not woody – its surprising how much else is going on with this rum bearing in mind the time spent in wood.

Did I mention this is 37 years old?

On the sip, Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection is initially quite spicy much like the initial nosing. The orange/marmalade notes are more noticeable as is a quicker arrival of the oak notes.

As far as Appleton Estate rum is concerned this is probably as funky as it gets after their Signature Blend. That said for any Hampden/Long Pond fans as I’m sure most will know Appleton aren’t typically recognised for high ester ultra funky rums. So bear that in mind.Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

As we move into the mid palate I am getting a nice oaky spice and some fruity citrusy notes. Vanilla and some traces of coconut also mingle in nicely. The rum is slightly acidic at times but overall the balance is really good. The rum is a little challenging but that should be expected from something which is 100% Pot Still. It’s got a bite of fight in it this one.

The finish is very long and quite rich with lots of oak, some hints of tobacco and a hit of cinnamon and nutmeg. The intensity of the rum continues and you’ll find yourself waiting a while before you return for another sip. Not because you won’t be hugely enjoying this rum. More because the finish is so long and complex.

Obviously, the price of this (and despite that the availability) will influence a lot of decisions upon buying this rum. In reality it’s likely going to be heading to people with pretty deep pockets. My only hope is that “most” of these bottles are drank and appreciated by genuine rum enthusiasts and/or shared with genuine rum enthusiasts.

It’s an outstanding rum.





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