One of our favorite rums in our bar is Appleton…
Tiki fans and rum-lovers both were excited to hear that Lemon Hart 151 was coming back to the US market and, over the course of many months, it trickled into widespread availability. Stores in California (or certainly liquor stores in So Cal) seemed to be a bit slow on the uptake of this particular product and it was a while before we were able to find one to taste. I’m going to cut right to the chase with this review: this is actually a very good, complex overproof rum that can add a lot of character to many cocktails. It finds itself in a tough spot because it was once “the best” – or, indeed, the only one with any name recognition – flavorful overproof rum out there and now it has quite a bit of competition as other brands have launched their own outstanding overproof rums. Are there better rums? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that this one isn’t worth drinking or buying. It’s both unique and tasty. I certainly like to have a wide variety of rums in my bar and I’m happy to count this among them, to use along with other very good overproofs.
The rum is a deep, warm amber color. On the nose, you’ll immediately get lots of chocolate, as well as vanilla, molasses, caramel and toasted coconut. The strong cacao nib notes are rich and really ground the rum. It has so much aroma that it’s almost hard to believe it’s a 151 in the first place, as many are light on the nose due to alcohol. On the palate, there is molasses, burnt sugar and lots more vanilla. On top of that, there is a bit of orangey citrus, spicy nutmeg and a bit of red bell pepper. It has a nice sweetness to it and also a fair amount of heat, of course. It has a pleasingly medium-long finish that helps to reveal some of the layers of flavor in the spirit. I would certainly sip it, perhaps with a bit of ice to cool it off, and it makes a good base for many cocktails that call for a 151 rum, too.
Rum Rating: 4/5
Rum Rating Scale:
0/5 – Is this even rum?
1/5 – Bad. Not worth buying and not worth drinking
2/5 – Not very good, but could be covered up with mixers.
3/5 – Good, versatile rum.
4/5 – Great rum, with complex flavors that is outstanding on its own or in cocktails (and this particular rum is probably best in cocktails).
5/5 – Amazing rum. Don’t even think about covering it up with mixers.