Appleton Estate Introduces 17 Year Old Legend Based on Rum Used in Original Mai Tai Recipe
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Appleton Estate Introduces 17 Year Old Legend Based on Rum Used in Original Mai Tai Recipe

Appleton Estate Introduces 17 Year Old Legend Based on Rum Used in Original Mai Tai Recipe

(Photo: Appleton Estate)

Jamaican brand, Appleton Estate has announced the launch of the limited-edition 17 Year Old Legend.  This rum is an exclusive recreation of the legendary 17 Year Old rum crafted by J. Wray & Nephew on the Estate in the 1940’s. The J. Wray & Nephew 17 Year is famous for its use in the creation of the first-ever Mai Tai cocktail. That rum is still one of the most sought-after bottles in the world.

In 1944, Victor Bergeron, known as Trader Vic, is credited with creating the Mai Tai at the service bar in his Oakland restaurant. The recipe included 17-year-old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, fresh lime, Orange Curaçao from Holland, rock candy syrup and French Orgeat. Then, he served the new experimental cocktail to his friend Carrie Guild from Tahiti. Other competitors at the time also claimed to be the creators of the iconic drink, but Trader Vic thought all those people were “dirty stinkers.”  

The Appleton Estate 17 Year Legend is a tribute to the history of this beloved cocktail. A new version of the original 17 Year J.Wray and Nephew is entering the world stage as a limited offering with only 1,500 bottles produced. 

Referencing original manuscripts and formulas, Master Blender of Appleton Estate, Joy Spence, created this one-time release using four very rare distillates set aside to rest on the Estate to best recreate the taste profile of the prized J.Wray and Nephew.

“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.”

The limited-release rum has aged a minimum of 17 years in Jamaica’s tropical climate. Crafted with Jamaican limestone-filtered water, with no added flavors. The brand describes the 17 Year Old Legend flavors as rich, caramelized pear and banana notes, mingling with warm, nutty, oak, and floral herbal notes. The rum is displayed in the brand’s uniquely shaped glass bottle, with a tropical interpretation of Appleton Estate’s visual codes on the neck label. The rum includes a tropically decorated gift box.

Starting today, 36 NFTs redeemable for bottles of Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend will be available on 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 made available at select premium retailers starting this  June, 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 SRP $500. The price seems steep but it may be quite the deal considering that bottles of the original J.Wray and Nephew 17 Year have sold at auction for upwards of $50,000.  

The brand has provided its version of a modern mai tai recipe.

Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend Mai Tai


  • 2 ounces Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend
  • ½ ounce Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ ounce Orange Curaçao
  • ½ ounce 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.

This varies slightly from the original and from the recipe provided in the 1972 version of Trader Vic’s Bartending Guide 

Trader Vic’s 1972 Mai Tai Recipe (revised edition)


  • 1 lime
  • ½ ounce orange curaçao
  • ¼  ounce rock candy syrup
  •  ¼ ounce orgeat syrup
  • 1 ounce Jamaican rum
  • 1 ounce Martinique rum 


Cut lime in half; squeeze juice over shaved ice in an old-fashioned glass. Save one spent shell of lime. Add the remaining ingredients and enough shaved ice to fill the glass. Shake by hand and decorate with spent lime shell, mint and fresh fruit stick. 

The directions for the original may be a bit confusing but the recipe and flavor should be close to the original without having to acquire the J.Wray and Nephew 17 Year Old rum. 

Read Next:

From Tropical Rum Cocktail Classics to Extravagant and Exclusive, a Chicago Bar Plans to Serve up an $800 Mai Tai Using Rare Rum

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Jessica Gleman is the managing editor of Rum Raiders. She received her Ph.D. at the University College of Dublin in Ireland, where she studied the archaeology of ancient alcohol. Jessica has a passion for the alcohol industry, including agriculture, distillation and mixology. When Jessica is not writing about rum, she is also a travel and food enthusiast who loves going around the world and experiencing various cuisines and cultures. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge and expertise and learning even more about this amazing spirit.