Tue | Apr 13, 2021

Richie Stephens savours Appleton Estate experience

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2021 | 12:12 AM
Richie Stephens’ tour of Appleton Estate was brought to a close with a tasting session led by Master Blender Joy Spence.
Richie Stephens’ tour of Appleton Estate was brought to a close with a tasting session led by Master Blender Joy Spence.

The world-renowned Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival will return in March, with its first-ever virtual concert.

With reggae lovers anxious to embark on this musical journey once more, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues team in collaboration with Richie Stephens have chosen to embark on a historical journey across Jamaica to showcase the beauty of the island, while educating viewers on the rich history of the island.

It comes as no surprise that one of the many stops across the country was Appleton Estate, nestled in the Nassau Valley, St Elizabeth.

“Being here, at the Appleton Estate, I’ve learned so much. Even as a Jamaican, who always knew of the greatness of this historic place, being here has taught me so much more about the history of these wonderful golden rums,” said the reggae stalwart.

“We chose Appleton Estate as one of our destinations, because [Appleton] has so much history, and there is such quality to the product, that the world should be regularly reminded of this part of Jamaican greatness,” said Stephens. “Being able to be here in the flesh, and sample these magnificent [expressions], as well as being able to interview and speak with Master Blender Joy Spence herself, is a big deal.”

The artiste learnt how sugar cane plays a vital role in the rum-making process and sampled the result of the first step in the journey from cane to cocktail: some of the finest sugar cane juice in Jamaica.

After a brief history lesson on the earlier methods of juicing sugar cane, the artiste also got into a bit of the action himself, working alongside his tour guide to remove the juice from the sugar cane before treating himself to a refreshing glass.

Another stop on the tour saw Stephens sampling ‘wet sugar’ straight out of the pot.

The singer admits that the highlight of his Appleton Estate journey was speaking with the living legend herself. Master Blender Joy Spence brought the tour to an elegant close by treating Stephens to a tasting session, which included the range of Appleton Estate expressions. The session is aimed at teaching guests how each unique expression is meant to be enjoyed and savoured, but for Stephens, simply speaking with the master blender made the occasion worthwhile.

He said, “I came to learn that [Joy Spence] is the first female master blender in the spirits business. Not in Jamaica, but the entire world. And to me, it is huge to have a one-on-one with such an illustrious Jamaican woman.”

Stephens said that this was his first visit to the Appleton Estate, but it would not be his last. “I’ve learned so much on this journey here at [Appleton Estate]. I’m hoping to come back one day soon,” he said.

“It is my wish to visit this historic place again in the near future, so I can explore and learn a great deal more.”

The singer is, of course, looking forward to the next stop on his itinerary and to bringing more of Jamaica’s beauty and excellence to viewers locally and abroad.

Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum is a sponsor of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.