The Appleton Estate is the oldest sugar plantation and distillery in Jamaica. Its sugar fields cover 11,000 acres of the Nassau Valley, located in the Saint Elizabeth parish, and it has been in operation since 1749. The distillery was bought by J. Wray & Nephew in 1916, which as of 2012 became a subsidiary of global drinks giant, Gruppo Campari. It operates five double-retort pot stills alongside a column still, and generally produces single blended rums by vatting the two distillates. In 1997, Appleton Estate became the first distillery in the entire spirits industry to employ a female master blender, Joy Spence.
In 1962 just before Jamaica received its independence, several barrels of rum from the Appleton Estate were set aside to age with the edict that these rums were to be used to create a very special blend of 50 year old rum that would celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence.
These barrels were placed in a special area in one of Appleton’s ageing warehouses and for fifty years they were carefully monitored, first by Master Blender, Owen Tulloch, and then by his protege and current Master Blender, Joy Spence. Bottled in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, this remains one of the oldest rums ever bottled.