About three months ago, I published a post – The Perfect Itinerary For A One Day Excursion From Kingston to St. Elizabeth, where I promised to share a bit more about one of the popular attractions on the south coast of Jamaica – The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Experience. Crafted in the heart of Jamaica, the Appleton brand is so popular that it’s a proud sponsor for many events taking place on the island. Second to Wray & Nephew, when you think about Jamaican rum, you think Appleton!
When I pulled into the parking lot surrounded by the well-manicured landscape, I knew this would be a worthwhile experience. The moment you step into the welcome/lounge area, you’re invited to sample one of the complimentary drink specials prepared at the bar. If you enjoyed your drink, don’t hesitate to order another to take along with you for the tour.
There are plenty of opportunities to explore the history of this iconic brand even before the tour begins. The welcome area and hallways display portraits of Mr. Wray and his nephew, bottles of Jamaican rum showcasing variations of labels throughout the decades, and a timeline depicting the history of the estate.
Some highlights of the tour include observing Paz, the resident donkey, demonstrate how they extracted the juice from the sugar cane in the 17th century using a Chattanooga Cane Mill. With 65 – 70% juice extracted from the sugar cane, Paz has some juicy snacks to look forward to while guests can look forward to a cup of chilled refreshing sugar cane juice. Two lucky guests on the tour pair up and experience for themselves just how hard a job Paz has, as they extract cane juice from sugar cane using a similar method.
Everyone gets a chance to sample wet sugar – a.k.a. molasses (my mom tells me that once upon a time, if you didn’t have access to brown sugar in the rural areas of Jamaica, you used this along with Seville oranges, a cross between an orange and lime, to make lemonade).
As you continue the tour of the estate and distillery, you will not only learn about the different proofs of rum, but you’ll also learn more about the aging process. After leaving the distillery, your next stop is the aging room, where barrels full of rum stacked high to the ceiling wait to greet you as the tour guide explains more about the wood used for the barrels, and you see firsthand what rum looks like as it ages.
Don’t forget to take some photos by the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum sign before the tour ends. If you’d rather take photos from one of the towers on the premises, you can – be prepared to be mesmerized by the breathtaking 360-degree view of the property spanning 11,400 acres.
The very last stop of the tour is the tasting! With three premium blends to sample and a complimentary sample bottle of rum to take home as a parting gift, this experience is nothing short of perfect! If you feel like staying a bit longer – I encourage you to dine on-premises and enjoy one of the authentic Jamaican meals on the menu that day.