Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 16 Years – The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 16 Years Rum Review by the fatrumpirateKill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 16 Years – The Whisky Barrel Exclusive. The world of Scotch Whisky seems to have partly fallen in love with Jamaican rum. Some whisky commentators still find them a little “too much”. In particular bottlings from the Hampden Distillery, Trelawny seem to really split opinion.

With all the enthusiasm surrounding the release by Hampden of their first aged rums, Hampden is flying high in the rum world at the moment. This has left independent bottlers such as Hunter Laing – who own the Kill Devil brand with an ideal opportunity to release their continentally aged Hampden bottlings. Which is great for those in the rum world who really enjoy what the distillery has to offer.

This latest offering from Kill Devil in partnership with The Whisky Barrel is a 16 year old Hampden rum from 2001. Marius over at Single Cask Rum has compiled a list of marques sold by the distillery over some of the years from 1990 to 2011. As his list notes this is the Hampden Diamond marque of rum. This is quite a high ester rum coming in at between 900/1000 g/hlaa.

I recently reviewed the Velier 70th Anniversary release of the Hampden Diamond whilst it wasn’t my favourite Hampden ever, I still got plenty enjoyment out of it. It is likely that if I dig around in the archives that I have also reviewed other 2001 Hampden Diamond vintages. Please note do not confuse the Hampden Diamond marque of rum with anything to do with the Diamond Distillery in Guyana.

The rum is housed in the now familiar opaque Kill Devil bottle with their standard labelling. Information is always good on these Kill Devil releases and we are told the following.

Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 16 Years distilled in October 2001 and bottled (I assume) sometime in 2018. The ABV is a meaty 61.2%. It retails at £93.16 for a 70cl bottle of which 156 were drawn from the single cask. It has been aged entirely in Europe to my knowledge.

I have had the UK Rumfest and a weeks holiday to contend with before completing this review. Fortunately there are still bottles of this available – I’m never overly keen on reviewing bottles which are extremely limited and totally sold out (though admittedly I still do). You may have to move quickly to secure one though. Here is a link which should help with that.

Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 16 Years review by the fat rum pirate The Whisky Barrel ExclusiveI think I’ve exhausted all my knowledge of this particular bottling, so we may as well see how this bottling ranks in the Jamaican rum stakes…….

In the glass the rum is a golden to light brown colour.

On the nose I’m in familiar gluey Hampden territory. Toothpaste and creosote mingle nicely alongside some Pritt Stick and some nice woody varnish.

The Pineapple juice is dialled back a bit with this one but you can still nose some very woody (?) Pineapple. A touch of stewed black tea lurks in the background. Banana has went walkabout but you still get a little hint of some banana peel.

Sipped at the full ABV this is surprisingly accommodating. A lot of bitter oak and sweaty socks appear on the initial sip. Alongside an almost tobacco/roasted pineapple juice taste. Fermenting apples and some cider vinegar.

It’s certainly an interesting rum if you really enjoy exploring the funkier side of Hampden. This isn’t DOK levels of esters, so its not as dry or as unforgiving as those particular expressions. For me Diamond H is probably about my limit in terms of actual enjoyment of the rum, as a true sipping experience. Beyond that point we are into bat shit mental stakes of experimentation. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a small glass or two of something like DOK but I wouldn’t come home from work and fancy sipping on a glass to wind down with…….not unless I had a very shitty day.

The mid palate is pretty oaky with a lot of woody notes. I wouldn’t say they were tired but they lack the vibrancy perhaps of some younger ex-bourbon casks. I don’t know what this rum was aged in but I get the feeling the barrels were reasonably well used. It tastes just a touch over oaked.

Which might kill a lot of rums off but Hampden comes out fighting. Such is the depth of flavour in this rum it can withstand almost anything. If ever an argument needs to be formed to back up Continental European Ageing, Hampden Rum would be your defence.

So despite the slightly over oaked notes you can still get a lot of flavour from this rum. The finish at full ABV is a very zesty and punchy but perhaps a touch short and dry.

I found that a drop or two of water really made this rum come alive. Which is useful as it means your bottle may last a little longer. Using the Hydrometer I brought this down to 50% ABV.

Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 10 Years The Whisky Barrel Rum Review by the fat rum pirateThis definitely brings out the more fruity elements of this rum – suddenly the Pineapple is well more Pineapply, the banana comes back and adds a nice hit of sweet green banana. The oaked notes are still there but dialled back a little to add a little more balance. Overall the flavour profile is better integrated – the finish whilst not necessarily longer is less harsh and drying on the palate. You taste more of the fruity notes throughout.

This is a complex rum and one which definitely benefits from a drop or two of water. In my opinion all Cask Strength rum should at least be tried at a lower ABV. Some people over estimate how good their palate is and a hit on the heat can often give a much nicer glass of rum.

 

 

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