Habitation Velier Hampden 2010 HLCF

Habitation Velier Hampden 2010 HLCF Rum Review by the fat rum pirateHabitation Velier have bottled a Pure Single Rum from the Hampden Estate in Jamaica. In actual fact they’ve now actually bottled three different expressions from the Hampden Estate.  I’m a little behind the times I’m afraid.

Released in 2016 this particular release is now particularly difficult to find.  It comes in the increasingly familiar Habitation Velier presentation box.  Which shows a drawing of each still the rum was distilled on.  It is also chock a block with detailed information on what the rum actually is.  No fairy stories here just cold hard facts.

Hampden HLCF retailed at around the £70-80 mark here in the UK for a 70cl bottle. The rum was bottled at Cask strength – 68.5% ABV.  I’m not totally sure what the HLCF actually stands for but I do have the following information to share.

Hampden HLCF identifies that the spirit has an ester count of between 550 one of the highest in Hampden’s rum.  Esters contribute a lot to a rums aroma and flavour. A typical Jamaican rum Wray and Nephew Overproof for example has a ester count of between 100-200.

The rum has been aged for six years from 2010 to 2016.  It is 100% Pot Still distillate.  It is also the first Cask Strength bottling to be released by Hampden (in partnership with Velier).  The rum has been also been entirely aged at Hampden Estate.  It has an Angels Share of 40%.  Also re-assuringly on the bottle we are advised the rum is “Sugar Free” meaning on additional sugar has been added to the rum.

This rum sold out fairly quickly once it got a score of 91 from Serge at WhiskyFun.  Having tried this rum I am not at al surprised it suited Serge’s palate.  Anyway enough of other peoples opinions…lets see how I found this Jamaican rum.

Habitation Velier Hampden HLCF Rum Review by the fat rum pirateIn the glass the Hampden HLCF is a golden brown colour – an almost classic “young-ish” rum colour if you like.  It has a very slight “murkiness” to it.

The nose is undoubtedly Jamaican and unrefutably Hampden.  Hampden Gold turned up to eleven.  The ABV (almost 70%) is big so you would expect a lot of alcohol – boozy the nose is definitely all the way there.

But there is no mistaking the distinct aromas which eminate from this Pot Still Jamaican rum.  They are huge.  Funkier than George Clinton.  It has everything you might expect – black bananas, pineapple, stewed fruits, juicy raisins and some really sweet almost minty refreshing notes.  I might well have mistaken this for a Long Pond.

It is intense.  Think Foursquare 2013 compared to Rum Sixty Six.  Yes it is that much different to Hampden Gold or even say Appleton Signature-V/X.

This is the highest ester filled rum Hampden have ever bottled.  It is as Velier have noted a “world premiere”.

Sipped even at full strength it is without doubt one of the most flavourful spirits you will likely ever encounter.  Whilst the alcohol burn is high at full strength you can still taste enough of the spirit to know this is something quite awesome and ground breaking.

Dialling it down with a little water is called for unless you want to take very tiny and infrequent sips.  This is so good and I’m so greedy that just wasn’t going to happen.

All the flavours promised on the nose come shining through onto the inital entry.  The rum is very intense, very “heavy” but also sweet.  This is what you get from Tropical ageing.  A more intense, more dense and more flavourful spirit.Habitation Velier Hampden HLCF Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

It is bursting with sweet fruits, heavy notes of tangy bourbon ageing and despite being only 6 years old – it has the most mellow of finishes.  Its almost as if you get all the burn up front along with the intense flavour bomb, so by the time it comes to the finish your taste buds have taken in so much they just want to fall asleep and nod off.  They just want to enjoy that fuzzy, warming mouthfeel of the lemon zests and the tangy freshness of the sweet herbal/grassy notes.  Which never seems to leave your mouth.  The finish is super long.

These Habiation Velier releases are firmly aimed at the rum geek or aficionado.  If you think Zacapa and DRE are the bench marks of truly great rum this Hampdden will offend you in the extreme.

Yorkie chocolate bars in the UK were once marketed with the slogan “not for girls” – I wouldn’t be quite so offensive and say women won’t enjoy this rum.  However your more casual or sweetened rum drinker will struggle with a rum such as this.

At times the Habiation Velier releases have been more educational than actually enjoyable.  The unaged Port Mourant wasn’t the greatest rum I’ve ever had and the WP 502 was no real extension on the distilleries own Rum Bar Overproof.

However, it would be stupid to complain about such rums being made available.  It seems that Luca Gargano is convincing producers such as Richard Seale to release rum so far out of their usual comfort zone, it is almost akin to him being forced to add sugar.

Funkier than George Clinton.

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