Blackadder let’s be honest about things. It’s in your head and in its my head. No doubt it gets into the head of everyone who ever buys a Blackadder Whisky or Rum and is familiar with BBC comedy.
I don’t even know whether there is any connection between the Rowan Atkinson series and this Independent bottler. Appearance wise I am certainly getting a feel of “The Black Adder” which was the first (very different) series of the popular comedy. My recollections come mainly from the 2nd and 3rd incarnations. And yes that bloody ludicrous folky theme tune………
This Blackadder bottling of Hampden Estate rum is (sadly) not as old as the TV series. Distilled in September 2000 this was bottled in February 2016. It was released towards the end of 2016. This Jamaican Hampden Estate rum is bottled at Cask Strength – in this instance 57% ABV. This is bottle 145 of just 222.
Blackadder refer to their rums as “Raw Cask” as they are Cask Strength rums that have not been chill filtered or otherwise messed around with. Presentation wise the Blackadder rums are a little on the DIY side – especially the labelling which has a Xerox feel to it. The presentation box itself is decent quality however and we get a Blackadder link from both the snake logo and the Blackadder knight who it is said “Ruled the lands of Northern Scotia”.
A Blackadder bottling, which despite being bottled in Scotland are pretty hard to find in the UK. I picked this up from a shop in Poland. Expect to pay around £80 for a bottle of this rum – if you can find one.
I have got some more information on Blackadder but as I am reviewing another of their bottlings soon I will keep some for that review. Reviewing numerous bottlings from the same Independent bottler can leave you a little short at times.
As far as Hampden Estate rums are concerned until very recently they were very much a bulk seller of Jamaican rum. Thankfully now they have two younger products on the market in Rum Fire and Hampden Gold. Alas like so many of their contempories no aged product has hit the market directly from them.
Fortunately there is a lot on the “Indie” scene. Quite a lot from 2000 as well. I’m sure the likes of Mezan and Duncan Taylor have released casks of Hampden rum from 2000.
Although I’m not 100% certain I am pretty sure that this is 100% Pot Still rum.
In the glass the rum is a straw/gold colour. It is slightly hazy with the odd bit of sediment in the glass but nothing which should worry anyone. (It will delight some)
The nose on this Hampden is quite sweet – familiar bruised bananas and a touch of coconut. There is some toffee and brown sugar in the mix as well. Alongside this is the unmistakeable nail varnish notes of a good hearty funky Jamaican. I’m also getting a salty note – brine or maybe even black olives. There is subtle oakiness but it isn’t big on this like say – Appleton 12 or 21.
Even though the rum is bottled at 57% the alcohol fumes are more than manageable and it is nowhere near as fierce or unwieldy as I was expecting on the nose.
Sipped the rum starts to show a few more of its teeth. The sweetness of nose is very short lived when sipped. The rum quickly becomes quite bitter and very oaky. In many way it becomes quite savoury tasting and reminds me of thick short crust pastry -slightly salty. I’m disappointed as my palate seems to have lost the sweeter notes and even the varnish and brine.
For my palate I find a few drops of water works best. It brings out more of the nose that existed in this rum onto the palate. At full strength it was too dry and whisky-ish for my tastes. I felt I was missing a lot of the flavour.
The water definitely returns some of the balance. I’m now getting the promised banana and coconut alongside a hint of saltiness and that strong varnished note. I feel like I’m now getting what I was promised with the nose.
This Hampden also has a really good long complex finish – the time in the barrel shows itself in the finish which is nice and spicy but not overbearing.
This is a very good rum – and a great example of Jamaican Pot Still Aged Rum. It is both complex and challenging. It has a couple of rough edges which if it where a commercial bottling would probably have been smoothed out with a little column distilled rum.
Again when buying this kind of thing you have to know what you are buying. If you don’t like Hampden Gold or Smith and Cross then steer clear. If you do and what something a little more exclusive or different then a independently bottled aged Hampden may well be to your tastes.
I’ve enjoyed this one and I’ll be seeking other aged Hampden’s out.