Hello everyone! I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a fan, lover and loyal friend to Wray and Nephew Over proof RumJ. One half white rum, one half coconut water and a squeeze from a lime wedge is my mixed drink of choice.
Rum is my preferred drink and a part of our Jamaican culture, so I was very much excited when I got the opportunity to visit the Appleton Rum Tour one week before we celebrated International Rum Day in Jamaica (celebrated August 16, 2019). If you have the thirst for a well spent day trip, and interested in how rum taste, its history as well as how it is made, this is the ideal experience.
The Estate is located in the picturesque Nassau Valley of St Elizabeth. It can be a bumpy ride to say the very least, but the views makes it all worth it. The estate is a hidden gem, tucked deep within the hilly, fertile greens of St. Elizabeth. It took us approximately two and a half hours from Kingston to get there. You could see the Caribbean’s gold – Cane fields as far as the eyes could view and Mountains standing in their full opulence. The estate is really crafted in the very heart of Jamaica.
The day trip lured all my senses into the experience. Being my first time visiting this part of St. Elizabeth, I resembled that dog in the movie, hanging half way through the window, with my tongue lagging out in amazement. I marveled at the undiscovered beauty of the land.
Upon entrance, the Appleton estate staff was warm, but then again, I would probably be that happy too working in such beautiful environs and being a part of such a rich culture. Where else has lush, green foliage, the mix aromatic smell of rum and sugar and beautiful peacocks running around? The admission was JMD $2,000.00, a discounted summer promotion price from the regular entry fee of JMD$2,500.00 for locals and USD$30 for tourist. Tours run from Mondays to Saturdays, 9:00am to 3:30 pm and a simple call will have your reservation booked.
The first order of business was sipping responsibly on my complimentary cocktail. The tour began with an introduction and pictorials of the Master Blender, Joyce Spence, as well as an introduction to who her future successor would be, David Morrison. My soul was warmed by the signature rum punch while I was being educated at the oldest Sugar Estate in Jamaica.
The tour guide was knowledgeable, jovial and simply hilarious! Like students in their first day of advanced math class, we held on to every word she spoke. We were led to a theatre of wooden benches, where they showed us a documentary. It was short and did not disappoint, I was especially proud to find out that it was Jamaican made.
Afterwards we went over to Paz the donkey, who showed us how cane juice was previously extracted. Like a regular nine to fiver, it was after midday and he was not in the mood, but he put on a show for us none the less. For that, I was grateful. We moved on to the human-operated mill where I got the chance to enjoy the taste of freshly extracted cane juice. A much better feeling than what I got when the raw molasses hit my palette with a pang! Yuck! Lol
The observation tower supplied us with a panoramic view of the beautiful Nassau Valley which followed a visit to the distillery and the aging house. Last, but not least, was the tasting room which proved to be my favorite. It represented a journey through time where we got a chance to sample some of the fine products created at the Appleton Estate. This marked the end of the tour and we were lead to the gift shop. There was potential gift for everyone, and the craftiness and the uniqueness of each item was phenomenal and well-made.
What I especially liked, was the fact that food was offered on the property, and they had a vegetarian option. They really took the time to consider everyone. For JMD$1,000.00 you had the option of getting two meats, rice and peas, sides of your choice, a soup and a complimentary fruit juice. Guys! This is not a drill! I was shocked and the found tasted great! I am a foodie, so I really appreciate a good meal
The entire experience was simply amazing and I will definitely be going back. Appleton Estate is responsible forcrafting their delicious rums with the warmth, passion and unique spirit of Jamaica for more than 265 years and I am happy I got a chance to be a part of the Joyce Spence Appleton Experience.