The Art of the Blend: Perfecting Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum

The skill and craftsmanship required for creating a spirit like premium rum is akin to the process of making an expertly blended wine. It starts with high-quality crops, sugar cane and grapes respectively, moves on to fermentation or fermentation and distillation, and then comes together by a practiced hand to create a perfectly balanced and nuanced blend.

Joy Spence, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum's Master Blender, has been honing her expert blending skills for decades. Each of Appleton Estate's premium spirits  is a proprietary, unique blend of aged rums. Just as different, complementary grape varietals are used to create a blended wine, Joy hand-selects the rum barrels that will be used in a particular blend based on their varying ages, types, and styles of rum, each adding a distinctive layer to the final blend. Joined together with Joy's expert organoleptic skills, combining her keen sense of smell and palate, each finished rum boasts a richness and complexity that could only be achieved through blending. 

She describes the development of a rum blend as a combination of art and science. "To create a new rum you first identify the style of rum you want. You then look at the stocks of rum that are available to you, bearing in mind the compatibility of the different marques, how they'll react when they're blended together, as well as the chemistry profile of the marques. Once you have done this, you decide on the best artistic combination of the marques."

At age thirteen, a young Joy fell in love with chemistry and set her mind on becoming a scientist. After graduating from the University of the West Indies with a Bachelor of Science degree, she joined the faculty of the College of Arts Science and Technology as a chemistry lecturer, and then continued to pursue a Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Loughborough in London, England. Joy graduated with top honors, including scoring the highest exam grades ever achieved by a student at the University – a record that still stands today. In 1979, Joy returned to Jamaica and worked in academia. 

In 1981, Joy joined Appleton Estate as Chief Chemist. She worked closely with the Master Blender at that time, Owen Tulloch, who sparked Joy's passion for the art of crafting and blending rum. Under his mentorship, Joy extended her knowledge of both the science and artistry behind the rum-making process. In 1997, Owen passed the reins to Joy, and she made history by becoming the first woman to hold the position of Master Blender in the spirits industry. 

During her thirty-three years dedicated to the art of crafting rum at Appleton Estate, Joy has created an exceptional range of premium spirits, each with its own distinct color, flavor notes, bouquet, body, and finish. Appleton Estate V/X is honey-colored, with notes of citrus and apricot, while Appleton Estate Reserve is full-bodied and smooth, and scented with vanilla and nutmeg. The Extra 12 Year Old is deep bronze, with a bouquet of fruit and cocoa. The 21 Year Old rum is a mature spirit with a long brown sugar finish, while the limited edition 50 Year Old rum is exceptionally smooth, with a honeyed oak finish. Try each of these distinct Appleton Estate Jamaica Rums and discover the warmth, passion, and unique spirit of Jamaica in every sip.