Spirits & Liqueurs Rum

What Is the Fourth Major Ingredient for Jamaican Rum?

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Joy Spence, the master blender at Appleton Estate, helps bring the Jamaican difference to life.

Anyone who really knows rum knows that the spirit has three main ingredients: cane sugar, water and yeast. But the flavor of rum is influenced by more than just the quality of those three elements. There’s another factor that gives rum its character: location.

The place where rum is produced has a huge impact on the way it tastes. It’s the reason Jamaican rum is difficult to compare and impossible to imitate.

You can call the distinctive flavor “hogo” or refer to it as the “Jamaican difference.” It all references the impossible-to-miss earthy character, funky flavor and powerful ester notes that make Jamaican rum one-of-a-kind. Of course, any bottle of Appleton Estate can illustrate the Jamaican difference better than any description.

This flavor profile, as well as the employment of unique distillation and ageing practices, allows Appleton Estate to have protected geographical indication (GI) status. This status—only available to products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities that are due to that origin—is where the Jamaican difference begins.

Jamaica is every bit as distinct and delicious as its iconic rum.

And Jamaican rum wouldn’t be so distinct without having inspired, talented people working with determination, passion and joy toward a common goal.

Joy Spence, the legendary master blender at Appleton Estate, is one of these people. She’s building on more than two centuries of rum making, working tirelessly to infuse Appleton Estate with Jamaica’s singular pulse and vibrant energy.

How does she do it? That’s the subject of a new three-part documentary series from Liquor.com and presented by Appleton Estate. Starting June 11, you can watch a group of rum-loving bartenders join Spence in Jamaica for the journey of a lifetime.