All rum starts with a derivative of the sugar cane, water and yeast. But that’s only the basics and the end of the similarities between Jamaican rum and other styles end. The one-of-a-kind terroir to its vibrant culture, something about Jamaica seeps into the rum, making it delicious in a unique way. What exactly is the source of this one-of-a-kind flavor? We sent eight rum luminaries to the island to find out.
Joy Spence, Appleton Estate’s master blender, led a guided immersion into the production process and sensory tasting to discover what makes Jamaican rum so unique. Spence is the mastermind behind some of the finest Jamaican rums available, so it’s hard to imagine a better authority on the subject. Spence explained how the high ester content in the liquid delivers a more robust flavor, which helps give Jamaican rum its unrivaled versatility. A bottle from Appleton Estate can be light and fruity, rich and flavorful or aged and oaky, all while remaining undeniably Jamaican.
But high esters alone aren’t what give Jamaican rum its one-of-a-kind funk. To find out what else is at play, this group explored it all—from the limestone filtered water and sugar cane to the pot stills and strictly enforced aging minimums. Some intangible aspect of the island, results in a rum that couldn’t come from anywhere else in the Caribbean.
There are other distilleries on the island that also add to the funk of Jamaican Rums through their unique methods of fermentation. The famous dunder pots and the use of so many different methods of getting the esters out of the fermentation as well as what the pot stills add to the one of a kind flavors found in Jamaican Rums.
Discover the Jamaican difference and the island’s secrets for yourself by looking out for all of the fine Jamaican Rums on the shelves of your favorite liquor store.