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Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend Is A Tribute To The Rum Used In The Original Mai Tai Cocktail

Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend

Appleton Estate has unveiled the limited-edition 17 Year Old Legend, a faithful recreation of the rum crafted by J. Wray & Nephew on the Estate in the 1940’s. The J. Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old is known as the inspiration for the creation of the Mai Tai cocktail. The rum has become one of the most sought-after bottles in the world.

Referencing original manuscripts and formulas, Master Blender Joy Spence created Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend using four rare distillates set aside to rest on the Estate to best recreate the taste profile of the prized golden blend. This limited-edition release was made possible by one of the oldest aging rum libraries in the world. Due to the rarity of the distillates, only 1,500 bottles are available globally, never to be produced again.

To those bartenders at the forefront of the emerging Tiki cocktail movement in the 1940’s, the J. Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old was one of the most sought-after rums in the world and set the gold standard, prized for its gilded color and sensual, smoky, orange top notes. In 1944 in California, legend has it that this exquisite spirit caught the imagination of Victor Bergeron, founder of the famous Trader Vic’s bar in San Francisco. While experimenting with friends, it’s said that he reached for a bottle of 17 Year Old rum, blended by J. Wray & Nephew, which would become his rum of choice. Protective to not overpower this special blend, Victor paired it with a subtle range of ingredients to complement the rum’s top notes. Shared with his friends from Tahiti, it was declared ‘Maita’i roa a’e’, or simply translated, ‘the best’, and thus, the legendary cocktail was born.

Today, Appleton Estate is proud to pay tribute to this enduring spirit. Produced at the oldest continuously-operating rum distillery in Jamaica, the iconic blend is aged a minimum of 17 years in the island’s fertile and tropical climate. Appleton Estate rums age nearly three times more quickly than spirits aged in cooler climates, allowing for richer, fuller flavours to develop in a shorter period – in fact, the minimum age of 17 years in the tropical climate of Jamaica is equivalent to over 50 years of ageing in a cooler climate. Crafted with Jamaican limestone-filtered water, with no added flavours, 17 Year Old Legend displays rich, caramelized pear and banana notes, mingling with warm, nutty, oak, and floral herbal notes. The full body crescendo culminates in a lingering, silky-smooth finish. The precious liquid is held in the brand’s iconic glass bottle, with a tropical interpretation of Appleton Estate’s visual codes in its neck label and gift box, exemplifying this release’s role as a true taste of Jamaican luxury.

“With our 17 Year Old Legend, we knew we had a special story to tell,” said Spence. “This project has been years in the making and truly one of the most challenging of my career. In carefully re-creating the beautiful taste profile of the original rum, we’ve created an expression that is a tribute both to our own heritage, and to the heritage of the classic cocktail craft.”

If you’re looking to make the iconic cocktail…


  • 2 oz. Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend
  • 5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 5 oz. Orange Curaçao
  • 5 oz Orgeat (Almond) Syrup

Combine in a shaker filled with ice (crushed and cubed). Shake well and chill. Pour into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with one lime shell and fresh mint sprig.

Beginning on May 17, 2023, 36 NFTs redeemable for bottles of Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend will be available on BlockBar.com. Appleton Estate has collaborated with Jamaican Visual Artist, Oneika Russell to develop the artwork for each NFT exclusive to BlockBar – a first from Appleton Estate.

The 17 Year Old Legend will also be available at select premium retailers starting in June, 2023, in the United States, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Japan, and Hong Kong for $500 USD.

For more information, head over to the brand’s official website.

In January, Appleton Estate added two seriously aged rums, one from 1993 and the other from 2002, to its limited-edition Hearts Collection.