World’s oldest commercial rum Appleton’s Estate 50 wows Manchester bar scene at Epernay tasting

By Ben Ireland

The world’s oldest commercially available rum made a special appearance at Manchester’s Epernay bar this week.

Appleton’s Estate 50, sold at $5,000US a bottle, was offered to business partners of the brand in an exclusive tasting on Wednesday evening.

The special edition rum marks the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, and was bottled the same year.

Only 800 bottles exist, with a mere 40 making their way to the U.K.

Jamie MacDonald, Appleton’s brand manager, said: “This rum really is a collectors’ item.

“People have asked me where they might be able to buy a shot, and I suppose you’d have to look at places like the Savoy and the Ritz.”

TASTING: Jamie MacDonald and Nick Worthington, brand managers for Appleton’s and Wrey & Nephews respectively

Nick Worthington, of J.Wray & Nephews, added: “This rum will never be produced again.

“These events tend to happen down in London, so it’s nice to bring it up to Manchester and spread the love.”

Blending aged rums is a fine art, and this one-off special edition rum will be the legacy of Joy Spence, the master blender at J. Wray & Nephew, who was the recent recipient of an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University.

She is well known as the first female master blender, and it is rumoured her nose is insured as she is capable of detecting flavours 2km away.

MacDonald said: “Joy was asked whether or not she will be keeping a bottle as a collector’s item, but she laughed it off saying it is there to be enjoyed, there to be drunk.”

RARE: Only 800 of Appleton’s Estate 50 were bottled, with only 40 in the UK

Andrea Horrocks, manager of Walrus in the Northern Quarter, said: “The history is the important part.

“It really helps you appreciate the effort that goes into it all.”

Her partner, Angela Monteita, said: “It’s like a Michelin star chef for booze.”

Charbonnel et Walker chocolates, known as ‘the Queen’s chocolate’, were served alongside the rum in advance of their new Appleton’s rum truffle that is due to be launched later this year.

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