This rare, limited collection comprises three vintages aged between 21 and 26 years: the 1994, 1995, and 1999. Much like whisky, Hearts Collection derives character from the American Oak barrels and the tropical Nassau Valley climate in which it was aged. Appleton is one of the few rums in the world to claim ‘terroir’ status, and the brand credits this tropical ageing method for the supreme flavour of its rums. Appleton Estate’s tropical ageing methods add another complex depth of character. One year aged in the tropics is the equivalent to nearly three years aged in a temperate climate — so the flavour of the rums develops at a quicker pace. Dark spirits enthusiasts will find it is worth the wait.
Appleton Estate’s legendary master blender, Joy Spence, hand-selected these rums from the Estate’s inventory. When it comes to rum, Joy is something of an authority. Over two decades ago, in 1997, she became the first female master blender in the spirits industry. During her illustrious career at Appleton Estate, Joy has been responsible for creating many of the blends that have been behind Appleton’s rise to fame. Spence’s unwavering attention to detail and adherence to premium standards and high-quality are just one of the many traits she shares with fellow dark spirits blenders.
The new Hearts Collection sees the first-ever pairing of Joy Spence’s distilling experience with the industry knowledge of Italian rum connoisseur Luca Gargano. One of the most influential rum experts alive, Gargano owns Velier, an importer and distributor of premium spirits, and has one of the most comprehensive collections of old rums in the world, with more than 40,000 bottles in his possession.
To create these particular treasures, with aroma and flavour profile in mind, Joy pulled just 10 casks from the nearly 200,000 barrels of rum ageing in Appleton Estate’s warehouses - one of the largest and oldest in the world. Gargano, having dreamed of a collaboration with Spence, traveled from his home in Italy to Appleton Estate in Jamaica to conduct a blind tasting with her. The pair ultimately landed on the same three as their favorites, which became Hearts Collection.
Joy remarked, “I’m a pot still girl. It’s just so complex and intriguing. I always had a passion to release a single-marque pot still. I was looking for beautiful, spicy, fruity notes, something rounded with vanilla, a little coffee, and cocoa notes coming from the oak. It’s the funkiest, pot still rum – such an amazing base to work with, and the heart and soul of our blends.”
The Hearts Collection is not only named for the heart of Jamaica, where it is created. The symbolic name carries the weight of the collective shared passion for rum by Master Blender Joy Spence and aficionado Luca Gargano.
“For me, the Hearts Collection is really to show the biodiversity of Appleton Estate in the sense that the Estate has so many different marques, so many different vintages,” says Luca. “The big value of Appleton Estate is its production, heritage, and stock—which makes it the best distillery in the world.”
There are only 3,000 bottles of each vintage in Hearts Collection, which are meant to be sipped neat from a snifter. The new Hearts Collection is available in select premium spirits retail outlets in global markets starting in November 2020.