Appleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection

Appleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection rum review by the fat rum pirateAppleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection. Earlier this month I was extremely fortunate (and humbled) to be one of 300 people, worldwide to be invited to a tasting of the Appleton Estate Hearts Collection.

The Hearts Collection is  co-bottling between Luca Gargano of Velier and Joy Spence of Appleton Estate. They consist of three vintage rums from 1999, 1995 and 1994. These rums were hand picked and selected by Joy and Luca. Despite having a variety of vintages and barrels to choose from, they did both pick the same barrels as their favourites.

Today I am reviewing the Appleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection. The youngest of the 3 rums in the collection. This rum is a blend of 12 casks. All the casks are the same rum marque, what marque it is is unclear as Joy would not disclose! Two of the rums in this collection are the same marque. So it was Joy’s little test for us to decide which was the odd one out.

The casks used in this release are numbered 407819 to 407830. For the tasting I was sent 3 20cl bottle of the rum. It is noted only 300 of these bottles were produced. For the full 70cl bottle release 3000 of each rum in the collection were available.

The recommended retail price of the rums was €220. However, due to the demand and excitement around this release bottles did sell for more at some retailers. I would expect to see a few bottlings appear on the secondary market shortly, if they haven’t already. I’m sure Italian Ebay will have a few bottles before long. Oh look they have!

Appleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection is a single marque 100% Pot Still Rum. The rum was distilled in 1999 on a Forsyth Pot Still. It has been aged for 21 years in ex-bourbon barrels at Appleton Estate. It is entirely tropically aged. The rum has been bottled at 63% ABV and there are 855 g/100 LAA Total Congeners.

In terms of presentation the box initially leads you to believe it is a Appleton Estate release, as unlike the Foursquare co-bottlings Appleton use their own branding and font style. It is when opening the box that you see the hallmark of a Velier bottling. The distinctive opaque Velier bottle. On the front label it is noted that the rum has been “Crafted and aged in the HEART of Jamaica” which explains why the rums have been called the Hearts Collection.

So there you go I think I have given as much information as I have regarding the rum so lets move on to the fun part.

In the glass Appleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection is a dark brown/mahogAppleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection rum review by the fat rum pirateany spirit with a reddish/orange hue. It is every bit the colour you would expect a 21 year old tropically aged spirit to be. From the tasting I am not sure if something was mentioned about some of the barrels being a bit older than 1999 – but I might be getting confused.

On the nose you immediately get that rich, elegant chocolate and coconut note that will be familiar to anyone who has had Appleton 12 Year or even the new 8 Year Release. Likewise the “regular” 21 Year Old Appleton Estate.

Further nosing reveals a slightly vinegary note alongside side some tropical fruit and banana bread. For all this is a 21 Year Old rum it is doesn’t smell particularly oaky. It is certainly not overly woody as some spirits often can be at this age. It has a really nice balance between aged spirit and more younger sweeter/vibrant notes.

As I sometimes note with Appleton Estate 12 Year Old there is a slightly herbal note in there is well which adds a bit more complexity and interest to the nose. Notes of toffee and light caramel add a little sweetness alongside the chocolate and the gentle warming oak notes. The nose has a really good balance and harmony suggesting the rum will be equally enjoyable……….

The initial entry is quite spicy and there is a touch of tartness about it. It’s dry and slightly acidic but not unpleasant. The vinegar note on the nose comes out a little more initially on the tongue.

Further sips see this die down considerably. As is often the case when sipping Cask Strength rum of the bat. Your palate needs time to adjust to the full on flavours. I’m not getting a much more rounded and more balanced rum. It’s not particularly heavy or woody but it does have a medicinal note.

On the mid palate I’m getting more of the chocolate and toffee notes alongside some coconut, banana and a touch of tobacco. Some white grapes as well are coming into the mix. There is an acidity to the rum – a slight lemon/lime touch which adds a little sweetness to the mix alongside the richer chocolate and toffee notes.

As we move into the finish it is long and luxurious. To be honest, this rum is dangerously drinkable at this ABV and very moreish. The finish has a touch of tobacco and smoke but the rich, vibrant notes of chocolate, banana and toffee continue alongside the fruitier elements – maybe a touch of lychee in there?

Appleton Estate 1999 Hearts Collection rum review by the fat rum pirateThis is isn’t funky hi-hogo Jamaican Rum. It’s a more sophisticated elegant spirit. This is really beyond the Signature Blend what Appleton Estate does. They don’t produce a rum like Hampden for example. No that Hampden don’t produce great rum – far from it.

This is a lovely rum. It’s typical in some ways of Appleton Estate’s older vintages but at the same time with it being a single marque it has little nuances that keep it interesting.

Easy to see why they picked these barrels! Great Stuff.








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