Appleton 15 Black River Casks

The new Appleton 15 expression is rolling out and I was tipped that some Total Wine stores in the Bay Area were carrying a bottle or two. So I immediately put one on order and picked it up.

I’ve been waiting for this new Appleton rum. After last year’s Appleton rebranding that included reformulation of the Appleton 8 Reserve expression, this new Appleton 15 year expression is moderately priced and designed as a 43% ABV sipping rum. You don’t always want cask strength. The 15 is a minimum age statement, so the blend of pot and column still rums in the bottle have all been aged in Jamaica for at least 15 years. There’s even a certificate of ageing.

As we’re want to do at Ultimate Mai Tai HQ, we set up a #umtshootout. Blind tests against the currently available Appleton 8, and Appleton 12 expressions, plus sample of a different Appleton 15 limited release that I procured from an unnamed benefactor. The other Appleton 15 has a higher ABV, so was easy to pick out in the blind taste test.

All of these rums are pretty nice as blended aged rums, featuring lighter column still distillate and only a little bit of Jamaica’s legendary funkiness. Perfect for cocktails and I also enjoy drinking neat.

  • My favorite from the blind test? Thankfully, it was the 15. The Black River Casks have a much longer finish than the over two and a much nicer mouthfeel.
  • I liked the 12 second best, noting that it had a more caramel taste, with a medium finish. Meanwhile the 8 felt a little thinner, with stronger hints of orange.

If you’re a fan of Appleton 12 like I am, the new 15 Black River casks is worth the ~$20 premium. It tastes great neat and I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s Mai Tai.

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