Appleton Special Jamaica Rum

Appleton Special Jamaica Rum review by the fat rum pirateFrom what I understand Appleton Special isn’t widely available in a lot of territories.  It is freely available in the UK though.

Rather than being special as such, it is Appleton’s entry level rum.  It comes in both a Gold and White expression.  It should be noted that whilst this is an Appleton rum it doesn’t have the Appleton Estate moniker.  Yes, its of course from the same distillery but it seems Appleton wish to make a distinction between this and the Estate’s entry level rum – V/X.  It is notably absent from the Appleton Estate website and rumours have it that it may be being discontinued.  If those rumours are true I may have to invest in a few more bottles soon!

Despite this being widely available still in UK supermarkets I cannot find a great deal of information on the actual spirit in the bottle.  It is a blend of column and pot still rums.  It’s age I presume must be less than those rums held in the V/X.  That seems logical at least anyway.

A 70cl bottle of Appleton Special will cost you around £15 in the UK and it is bottled at 40% ABV.  It competes with the likes of Cockspur, Brugal and Bacardi for shelf space.

Whilst it doesn’t enjoy the popularity of J Wray and Nephew’s Overproof White Rum theAppleton Special Jamaica Rum review by the fat rum pirate rum is respected in the rum world especially amongst mixologists such as Jeff “Beachbum” Berry who has included it in a good few of his cocktails over the years.

There is  little to say really about the presentation beyond the photo’s.  The screw cap is good quality and always cracks open nicely and the label tells you pretty much all you need to know about the rum.  It’s a mixer and its from Jamaica…..

The nose on the Special is very full and flavourful.  It is classically Jamaican and is very similar to that of the V/X.  It is young and raw and slightly heavy on alcohol but it does still have rich banana, honey, a little treacle and of course that unmistakable and almost undescribable Jamaican funk.  Whilst it is probably the most funky of all Appletons rums it is still not in the Hampden or Monymusk category.  It’s still a fairly challenging mixer.

Sipping this rum requires quite a lot of water.  Its flavourful and really quite rewarding but ultimately it just isn’t really refined enough to sip in this way.  It’s daft really to water down a 40% rum to sip when you can have so much more enjoyment from it mixed.  Appleton 8 and 12 are available for around £25 and £35 respectively and they work so much better as sippers.

What Appleton Special is, is a gold mixing rum.  For those who enjoy the Jamaican funk there can be few better ways of spending £15.  You can occasionally get the V/X for £16 on offer, at that price go with the V/X (it’s usually around £20).  If not and you are going to use the rum solely as a mixer, then to be honest the £5 price difference probably isn’t worth it.

J WRAY GOLDOnce you start mixing with this or the V/X and you’ve had a couple you’ll probably not notice much of a difference.  A rum and cola made with a slice of lime and plenty of ice is very enjoyable with the Appleton Special.  The fieriness of the rum still comes through and you get all that lovely funky Jamaican rummy goodness.

This is proper rum – it may not be the most refined, most expensive or most rare rum in the world but pound for pound it is one of the best mixers available.  You could spend a lot more and end up with a lot less!

NB Since completing this review I was advised that Appleton Special was being re-branded above is the photo (courtesy of Robert Burr).

3 stars




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One comment on “Appleton Special Jamaica Rum

  1. As “J Wray Gold,” I think of this as my “standard rum.”

    Works great in cocktails, not bad on ice (but not very interesting). Nutty. Decent in a rum old-fashioned or rum and tonic.

    But in the US, if you are looking for a straight drinker, you might as well shell out $2 more and get the cheapest Appleton’s.

    In North Carolina, it becomes a much better deal in the 1.75 liter size.

    I highly recommend it as the basis for Tiki-style drinks. It certainly mixes well with other rums.

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