We were fortunate snag the last spots to attend a ticketed tasting event for the Appleton 17 Legend release at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. The £50 event included a welcome Mai Tai with Appleton 8 plus tastings of Appleton 8, 12, and 21 – and the latest Appleton Hearts releases: 1993 and 2002. We also had some truffles made with Appleton rums and a lemon sorbet palette cleanser.
Appleton’s Master Blender Dr. Joy Spence led us through tastings of these rums and was joined Campari ambassador Chris Dennis to discuss Appleton’s rum line, J. Wray & Nephew heritage, and the production and release of Appleton 17 Legend – made to replicate the historical Wray 17 used in the original Trader Vic’s Mai Tai.
The approach leading us to Legend made sense, though it was a lot of rum building up (I didn’t finish my samples to keep a clearer head). The inclusion of Hearts, a single marque pot still release was quite useful. I found the 2002 to be a flavor bomb similar to the 1995, 1999, and 2003 releases I’ve tried. But the 1993 had an unusual finish best described as “minty.” The wonders of pot stills.
All of which led us to a small sample pf Appleton 17 Legend and then a taste in a Mai Tai made by Dennis. Issued at 49% ABV like the historic original, this is more than a proofed down Hearts release. The blend of four marques means this is truly unique. There is no traditional Appleton orange peel, nor overripe fruit. Instead there are hints of nutmeg and herbal spices. It is delicious nest from a glass but even better in Mai Tai where the long and lingering finish is truly sublime. Dennis made the Mai Tai with Ferrand Dry Curaçao and homemade orgeat and rich simple.
Locals were able to purchase a bottle for pickup on Monday. At $500, the rum is fab but I’d probably choose almost two Hearts bottles instead.
We left with goodie bags featuring an Appleton jigger, blue glass, and a cute bottle of Appleton 8. We thank Campari and Appleton for putting on such a great event.