Kill Devil Hampden Distillery Jamaica Aged 35 Years

Kill Devil Hampden Distillery Jamaica Aged 35 Years Rum review by the fat rum pirateKill Devil Hampden Distillery Jamaica Aged 35 Years. Another bottling of Jamaican rum from Kill Devil but this time you can find this particular bottling at a few different online outlets as it isn’t a Whisky Barrel exclusive. Though you can still buy it from them should you wish.

As you can see from the photo the presentation for this one strays from the usual Kill Devil bottle and presentation tube. It perhaps might not surprise you, bearing in mind the age of the spirit in the bottle that the pricing is also significantly different. The most expensive Hampden from Kill Devil before this bottling was £200 for a 24-year-old rum.

Kill Devil Hampden Distillery Jamaica Aged 35 Years retails at £695 (or thereabouts) and is currently available at The Whisky Barrel and The Whisky Exchange. The presentation has been upscaled to a decanter style bottle with a huge cork stopper and a very nice presentation case. Complete with a booklet with tasting notes and information regarding the rum.

Like all Kill Devil Releases this is a single cask rum. Due to the age of the rum only 198 bottles are available. It is 100% Pot Still rum. I am unsure how much continental/tropical ageing has taken place. I would say the vast majority must be continental or we probably wouldn’t have any rum left to taste! It has been bottled at final Cask Strength of 58.1% ABV. Non chill filtered is another ethos of the Kill Devil brand. As to the marque for this particular rum – I do not know that either unfortunately.

Rums as old as this from Hampden aren’t unheard of but I haven’t seen a lot of rum aged from 1983 around recently. The rum was distilled in 1983 and finally bottled in 2019.

I noticed on the front of the bottle that this is noted as being bottled by Edition Spirits which I found a bit odd. They are an independent whisky (and now I guess rum) bottling business owned by Andrew and Scott Laing, the sons of Hunter Laing director and fKill Devil Hampden Distillery Jamaica Aged 35 Years Rum review by the fat rum pirateormer Douglas Laing, founder Stewart Laing. They have released over 150 bottlings of single cask whiskies since being created in 2010.  All bottled at cask strength.

In the glass we have a straw coloured rum. The uninitiated would conclude this wasn’t a spirit as old as 35 years. This colour is no surprise and further evidence of the continental ageing involved in producing this particular rum. It’s a straw to golden brown colour.

The nose is surprisingly sweet and nowhere near as “woody” as I was expecting. Navy Tablet, Pear Drops and a hefty dose of nail varnish give way to scents of caramelised banana, peaches in syrup, lychees and some guava. The time in the cask shows itself with some meaty woody notes. Spicy with some vanilla, licorice and a touch of shoe leather. Overall the rum is held together by huge doses of sweet Pineapple juice.

It’s a very complex nose and reminds me both of the Duncan Taylor 2000 and the more recent Velier/National Rums of Jamaica TECC release. Both of which come from Long Pond rather than Hampden. The more savoury notes I would associate with Hampden aren’t as apparent as their more recent releases. This is a slightly sweeter spirit to nose.

At £700 a bottle I was expecting a very complex spirit and in that respect I am not disappointed. This so far, is very much “on point” as far as my Jamaican rum preferences go. So lets see how nicely it sips.

The initial burst of flavour is sweet followed by a slightly tangy sour note – a touch of vinegar. The sweet notes – overripe bananas, guava, strong hints of Pineapple Juice prevent this from getting anywhere near tasting “over oaked”. On the mid palate the oak influence and time in case does show its self.

Nice spicy oak spice and vanilla, lots of ginger and a touch of white pepper. There is a lot going on with this rum and it is very complex and each sip reveals further waves of flavour and fresh nuances.

The finish is very long. This is a Cask Strength rum so the flavour shouldn’t leave early but this really sticks around. Such is the huge flavour burst on each sip, it’s difficult to determine when this rum stops coating the palate with rich tropical fruits. The mid palate gives away more oak and some slight smokiness. A touch of tobacco but the finish, as the oak notes fade, the fruit seems to come back. It’s a rum you can taste long after sipping.

Kill Devil Hampden Distillery Jamaica Aged 35 Years Rum review by the fat rum pirateThis is a very “fresh” and very vibrant rum despite the extensive ageing. I was concerned it may be overoaked and simply too woody to be truly enjoyable. It has retained some of its youthful exhuberance and the time in the cask has gently aged and shaped this rum into something quite wonderful.

Obviously this is a pretty rare rum with less than 200 bottles. It will be too pricy for many. Should you get the chance to try this though I would thoroughly recommend you make sure you take that chance.

It’s pretty sublime though – bordering on being perfect and easily one of the best Hampden’s I have tried. Which in itself is high praise as that distillery never produces “bad” rum.

 

 

 

 

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