MAGGOTTY, east of YS and eleven kilometres from the main A2 highway, resembles a small Wild West frontier town. It’s a dry, dusty place, most of whose inhabitants work at the Appleton Estate rum distillery nearby.

The Appleton Estate Rum Tour

The Wray and Nephew rum distillery at APPLETON has a great setting in the Nassau Valley among thousands of acres of sugar-cane fields. At 250 years old, this is one of the oldest rum producers in the English-speaking Caribbean and the best known of Jamaica’s several brands. All of the rum produced here is sent for blending, barrelling and bottling in Kingston – though some barrels are sent back here to age in a warehouse viewed during the tour.

The hour-long Appleton Estate Rum Tour starts with a complimentary drink and video session, followed by a visit to the factory (heavy with the sweet scent of molasses) and the cobwebby, ageing house, and then outside to an old sugar press, where donkeys used to walk in circles to turn a grinder that crushed juice out of the sugar cane. Today it’s all mechanized, though a donkey has been put back into service to demonstrate old techniques. The tour concludes in a “tavern”, where you get to sample all seventeen kinds of rum and various rum-based liquors. Though you’re free to drop in, it’s a good idea to call ahead to arrange a guided visit, if only to avoid your visit coinciding with a big tour party.

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