Appleton Estate traces its history back to 1655 when the estate was granted to Frances Dickinson's heirs for their grandfather's service to England during England's successful capture of Jamaica from Spain. The details may be a little sketchy but it's well documented that rum production began in 1749 from sugar cane grown on the fertile Nassau valley.
The Dickinson heirs sold their Appleton Estate in 1845 and subsequent Jamaican owners continued to produce rum and acquire more land surrounding the original grant enhancing Appleton Estate's position as a leading sugar and rum producing area. During the last half of the 19th century, John Wray was busy distilling and blending his own rums and serving them to patrons at his Shakespeare Tavern in Kingston. In 1862, John's nephew, Charles J. Ward, joined his uncle and J. Wray & Nephew began it's history of producing and selling quality Jamaican rums with three gold medals at the London Exhibition. Then in 1916, the Lindo Brothers & Co. purchased the Appleton Estate and the company John Wray and his nephew had built and called their new acquisition J. Wray & Nephew Ltd.
Today the 11,000 acre Appleton Estate and J. Wray & Nephew Ltd. produce the lion's share of the rums sold in Jamaica. In addition to the sugar mill, 5 pot stills and a multi-column continuous still at the estate, the company also operates another distillery under the Wray & Nephew name where other rums and rum products are produced. At the Appleton Estate the eponymous line of Appleton Estate Jamaican Rums are distilled from molasses produced at the adjoining sugar mill. Under Jamaica's sugar marketing pool scheme, which markets all of the sugar made on the island, the sugar and molasses produced at the Appleton sugar mill are sold to the marketing pool. The molasses used to make Appleton Estate Jamaican Rums is then purchased back from the sugar marketing pool. The molasses never leaves the estate while the transfers are conducted on paper. The rum produced on the Appleton Estate, on the other hand, is trucked to Kingston where it is aged and bottled.
Unlike the volcanic soil found on many Caribbean islands, including Jamaica, the Nassau valley has a unique geological structure found in only a few other places on earth. Within the 11,000 acres of the Appleton Estate, the source of the Black River provides irrigation for the cane fields and limestone filtered water for the distillery.