Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 10 Years – The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 10 Years Rum Review by the fat rum pirate The Whisky BarrelKill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 10 Years – The Whisky Barrel Exclusive. An exclusive bottling sees one of Scotland’s younger rum bottlers, team up with a relatively youthful Scottish retailer in the shape of The Whisky Barrel.

The Whisky Barrel have been earning a great reputation over the past few years. Focusing and stocking Independent bottlings of both whisky and rum. Obviously my attention has always focused on the rum. They heavily feature two of my favourite UK based Indie bottlers. Bristol Classic Rum and Hunter Laing’s Kill Devil range.

We are on familiar ground then again with this bottling in terms of bottler, distillery and age. I reviewed a 9 year old Cask Strength Hampden bottling from Kill Devil a few months back. I found that bottling (a run of just 55 bottles) on The Whisky Barrel also. Regular readers of this blog will be aware that Jamaica has been covered very regularly lately. Not Just Hampden but also Worthy Park.

As a rule I “try” and review bottles whilst they are still available for retail and whenever possible, as soon as they are available. I think this works both ways – you readers will be keen to read about the rum before you commit and it ensures I get a steady stream of views for such bottlings.

Anyway enough of the rambling. What we have here is a 10 Year Old Pot Still Rum from the Hampden Distillery. Distilled back in November 2007. It is bottled at 64.1% ABV – Cask Strength. One of just 290 bottles from a single cask. Priced at £62.65 which is only slightly more expensive than last years 9 year old rum.

It is likely that this rum was sent to Europe unaged and has been aged solely in a continental European climate.

This is reinforced when the rum is poured in the glass. It is a very light straw colour with a slight flash of gold in the swirl.

Nosing the rum (you don’t really need to it you can smell it across the room) I get all those wonderful familiar Jamaican funky notes, that I’ve so enjoyed recently with our Kill Devil and Berrys’ Jamaican bottlings. Getting up there with one of my all time favourites, that mythical Duncan Taylor Long Pond 2000. Ahhhh memories.

Varnish, shoe polish, diesel fumes, Calpol and menthol cigarettes are all very prominent on the nose. Despite all this there is enough sweetness. Pineapple, guava and Lockets (honey flavour cough sweets with a liquid centre). These notes balance out the more aggressive and frankly unpleasant sounding notes (it is amazing how such horrible sounding notes can smell so wonderful!).Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 10 Years Rum Review by the fat rum pirate The Whisky Barrel

So lets see how this all transfer over to the sip.

Wow! This is some really funky, sweet and vibrant rum. An initial sugary-ness gives some really fruity almost candied notes of pineapple and passion fruit. There is a really medicinal and warming hit of lighter fuel and navy tablet (more English cough sweets) on the mid palate. Nice warming notes of spice – ginger, nutmeg and a really well developed oak and some slightly tannic notes like red wine. The balance is wonderful.

This is what I call a slow sipper. Big gaps between each sip. Not because you don’t want more but because it is so complex and the finish is long and satisfying.

There are all kinds of notes to be explored with this rum – sweeter tropical notes, more aggressive heavy medicinal notes and some really nicely balanced and well delivered spice and oak in the finish and mid palate. This all adds up to a very funky and well balanced Jamaican rum.

With the Hampden rums from Independent bottlers it is very much about how well they have been matured. The funky-ness that comes off the still is already packed full of flavour. This is distillate driven rum – whilst the rum may have mellowed slightly in the barrel/cask and taken on some of the vanilla and spice of what I presume to be re-fill bourbon, it is still very much characterised by the unaged rum that came straight off the still.

It’s difficult to tame a Hampden – without arsing it up with “dosage”. You can over-oak them from time to time or put them in “bad” barrels.

But that hasn’t happened with this particular bottling. I gave the 9 Year Old Kill Devil Hampden 4.5 stars out of 5 earlier this year and the same score to the 17 Year Old Berrys’s exclusive for The Whisky Barrel.

We are really getting down to finite differences. This might just get the balance between youthful exuberance and well matured spirit – just a teensy bit more than those two. Would I easily tell them apart after a couple of glasses? Probably not if I’m being honest.

This doesn’t have the slightly bitter note of the 17 year old on the finish and is ever so slightly better balanced overall than the 9 year.

To be fair you should buy all three of those bottlings if you can. No scrap that – buy two, three as many as you can get.

Jamaican Rum Heaven. More collaborations please…….

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