My Wandering Eye: Appleton Estate Rare Blend, Aged 12 Years

My wandering eye is a series reacting to the crazy rising prices in the bourbon world. We’ve reached a place where even average products have hit the range where they compete price-wise with other types of aged spirits. If I’m going be asked to drop $40 to $70 on a mid-range bourbon, I might as well see what else I can get for that money. See if another spirits category offers something that is downright tasty in that price range. The goal isn’t to find cheap spirits, but to maximize the quality, I’m getting at a particular price point.

Inspired by my review of Fred Minnick's Rum Curious, I decided to let my eye wander through the liquor store again. This time though, I went armed with the knowledge provided in Fred's book. I had an idea as to what I was looking for and what I might be able to find. Since I am a whiskey drinker, I thought I'd try one of the non-sugared rum styles. After reading in Rum Curious that Jamaica and Barbadoes do not allow sugar in their rums, I went looking for that. I cross referenced that with Fred's thoughts on the various whiskeys. I made a list and then I headed to the store. 

The first one that I saw from the list, well the first one in my price range, was the 12-year-old expression of Appleton Estate. I'd had other, less expensive, expressions from Appleton Estate and enjoyed them so that is the one I walked out with.

Appleton Estate Rare Blend, Aged 12 Years

Purchase Info: $31.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Viking Liquor Barrel, Prior Lake, MN

Details: 12 years old. 43% ABV

Nose: Very rich and sweet with a nice thick mouthfeel. Strong molasses, caramel custard, banana, ginger spice and old wood. 

Mouth: Sweet with a hint of the spice to come. Banana, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and oak.

Finish: This is where the spice really kicks in. Lingering ginger and molasses with banana bread and cinnamon coming in after. 


Thoughts: Oh, remember the good old days when you could get a 12-year-old bourbon for around $30? Or an 18-year-old for $45? Well, that ship has sailed and it ain't coming back anytime soon. In the meantime, let's hop on a different ship and sail on out to find some rum. A 12-year-old for $32? And it's good? Sign me up. I like this one quite a bit. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!