Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection

Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection rum review by the fat rum pirateAppleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection. My only hope with this review is that I have enough to write about to flesh out another full review. I fear I may have covered quite a lot of ground with my previous review of the Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection.

That said I’m sure I’ll find something to rattle on about. After all I’ve managed to review a whole host of Foursquare bottlings over the years and I (hope) I haven’t repeated myself too much.

From the amount of views already on the post above, I am going to make an assumption that most of you have already read the review. If not the link is there for you. Based on that assumption I’ll move on. I won’t bore you all again with the details of how I came about trying these two bottlings.

Now, upon publishing my review it came to my attention that a couple of other reviewers had scored the 1984 quite a bit lower than myself. It’s always interesting when reviewers, who I have respect for (they are a small handful, I must admit) have differing opinions to myself.

The two reviewers in question are Serge Valentin over at Whisky Fun and Roger Caroni (not his real name) over at Le Blog a Roger. Both felt that the rum was too woody and dry. Whilst I can see where they are coming from, I just didn’t find that to be the case. Yes it was pretty dry and quite woody but I felt the intense fruity flavours and spicy notes still came through more than enough. It felt to me akin to the Velier Demeraras as opposed to the El Dorado range. It was just a much more concentrated/intense Appleton experience, than you would get from their standard range.

I really enjoyed it and they enjoyed it less than me. This is why when reading reviews you should take notice of the notes made by the reviewer. As well as any score they may or may not give. It is not a case that one person is right and one person is wrong. They just taste things differently and (as all humans do) enjoy different things.

Obviously in this instance I am right though……….

There is no point asking me why another reviewer has given a different score or asking why I gave a higher score than the other reviewer. The only answers I can offer will come across as a touch on the blunt side! Or just plain rude.

Anyway lets get back to the rum review………

Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection is a run of 5000 bottles. So like previous Hearts Collection releases it is not a Single Cask release. It is a bottling of various barrels of the same marque, maturation etc of rum.

Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection rum review by the fat rum pirateIt is a 100% Pot Still rum and Joy Spence once again will not reveal the marque of rum used in the release. The rum has been aged for 18 years in Jamaica in ex-bourbon barrels. The rum was bottled in 2021.

For the geeks Total Congeners 688g/100 LAA. For those with deep pockets a 70cl bottle of Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection coming in at 63% ABV will set you back around £/€400 if you can find a bottle. You’ll more likely end up paying more on the secondary market. Using the 1984 as a guide the price of the 2003 seems reasonable enough. Though a bit pricy for me I must admit. My wife would kill me…….

Now as mentioned already this Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection rum does seem to have been more favourably reviewed/commented on when I have had a little look around the internet. By giving the 1984 a top score I haven’t given myself much wriggle room. That said if someone can tell me the difference between a rum scoring 96 and one scoring 95 I’d love to hear it……….(the answer isn’t 1 point smartarse)

So lets get some of this in my glass………

When poured the rum is a dark brown possibly slightly lighter than the 1984 but not hugely different.

The nose is instantly more familiar than the 1984’s. It’s very typical aged Appleton and has much in common with the “new” 8 Year, 12 Year and the 21 Year “standard” Appleton releases. So you get a nice waft of treacly molasses, orange peel, citrus, toffee and some chocolate-y oak (?). Beneath this is a nice warming mix of all spice and Christmas Cake.

It is undoubtedly more approachable and “easier” on the nose than the more intense 1984.

Sipped it is a bit spicier than I was expecting and the initial sip is nice and fiery. I’m getting fair bit of ginger and a heavy hit of oak on the entry.

However, as the palate adjust to the 63% ABV liquid the more the notes on the nose come through. The initial sip becomes much mellower. There is a nice intricate mix of honey, vanilla, toffee and chocolate going on.

The mid palate moves into a more spicy and citrus led direction. There is a slight smokiness in the background. Although the oak is less prominent than in the 1984 the fruityness is similar. This time I feel we are getting more of the “warming” notes, I find in Appleton 12 Year. So more of the chocolate, a touch of coffee, maybe. It’s a bit like a nice warm hug in a glass really. It’s nice and beefy but it has a gentleness to it as well?

As we move onto the finish we are treated to a long lingering spice and those wonderful chocolate, honey and vanilla notes. Which build nicely alongside a slightly herbal note and some orange no, hang on tangerine like notes.Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection rum review by the fat rum pirate

The finish is long and elegant and wraps this wonderful rum up nicely.

I’m afraid I might look a bit like an Appleton Estate/Velier fan boy here but once again, I really don’t feel any reason not to give this a top score. It is dangerously drinkable even at 63% ABV.

I’ll answer the question though which do I prefer the 1984 or 2003?

I’d probably go for a bottle of this, given the choice – but I think both rums over something completely different. Both have been rums I have been really lucky to try and I am glad I was offered the chance.






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