Spirits & Liqueurs Rum

The Search for the Jamaican Difference Begins

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All rum starts with sugar, water and yeast. But that’s where the similarities between Jamaican rum and every other style end. From its 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.

Liquor.com invited some of the country’s leading bartenders, bar owners and industry experts to Jamaica to discover how rum is made and experienced in Jamaica. The eight guests came from different cities, all bound by a shared passion for Jamaican rum. A documentary crew was invited to follow along on this unforgettable journey through Jamaica for an upcoming three-part Liquor.com series.

At the heart of their journey was a trip to the home of Jamaica’s most storied rum, Appleton Estate, to discover how the rum gets its celebrated full-bodied flavor.

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. So 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.

This, along with some intangible aspect of the island, results in a rum that couldn’t come from anywhere else in the Caribbean. Discover the Jamaican difference and the island’s secrets for yourself by tuning into the upcoming documentary series that captures the journey.