Hampden Estate Gold Jamaica Rum

Hampden Estate Gold Jamaica Rum review by the fat rum pirateHampden Estate along with Appleton Estate is one of the few remaining distilleries on Jamaica.  This rum is one of the very few offerings (two) the distillery produces which are bottled under the Hampden name.  For further information on the distillery (including its famous tours) please see their website.

Despite producing few rums in its own name Hampden Estates authentic Dunder heavy pot still rums are in great demand.  Long established rum Smith & Cross uses rum from the Hampden Estate as does the more recent Duppy Share rum.

I was fortunate enough to benefit from a whopping 20% discount from Drink Supermarket when I bought this rum as part of their Black Friday promotion.  I bought a few different Jamaican expressions as I felt the site needed a few more Jamaican expressions in its portfolio.  I had also recently revisited a bottle of Smith & Cross and found that the dunder heavy pot still rums really grew on me.

First up is the presentation of the rum.  From looking at the website and the companies Twitter feed (I’m on Twitter please follow me) it seems that the UK version which is bottled by E&J Brands and Services comes in a different bottle to the version available in other territories.  The bottle used is very similar to the bottles used by M&S for their two “plantation” rums.  The packaging is not bad for a rum which cost only £17.99 for a 70cl.  Another plus point is the rum is bottled at 40%.  Which can be quite rare amongst rums under £20

In the bottle the rum is lovely gold colour and is lighter and less orange than the Appleton V/X and noticeably much lighter than Myers’s treacle molasses rich offering.  When poured the rum is slightly lighter almost a straw colour.

The first thing that hits you about the Hampden Gold is it strong aroma.  Rich and fruity like black bananas with a little treacle and pungent funky notes of Pineapple, apple and molasses.  It is very similar to Smith & Cross.  As it shares some of the rum this is no surprise.  I am surprised that the rum has only been available since 2012.  This probably explains why so few sites have reviews of it.

Which is a shame because this represents classic Jamaican rum making.  It also shows that just Smith & Cross and Appleton V/X a rum doesn’t have to have a double-digit age statement to be deemed good.  There is no age is better ethos on this review site.

Whilst Hampden Gold wouldn’t be a very good rum to introduce someone who is new to rum (& and especially to the Jamaican style) it is a rum worth investigating by anyone who enjoys the “funkiness” of Jamaican rum.  It is very in your face and is to Jamaican rum what Pusser’s is to Demerara based blends.  It has that Smith & Cross flavour but at 40% ABV maybe won’t give you the Smith & Cross hangover.

The rum is primarily a mixer.  It is a fairly young rum and it is quite rough and ready.  I think the rum is aged for 2 or 3 years.  You can give it a go as a sipper but it lacks the refinement of Appleton Reserve or the 12 Year Old.  For those familiar with Appleton – I feel that Hampden Gold is less refined than even the V/X.  Smooth is not a word I would use to describe the Hampden Gold.  However, as with age I do not equate “smooth” with quality either.  You can have neither age or smoothness and still have great rum.  Pusser’s is the best example of that.

Hampden Gold will go great in Tiki Cocktails that need a bit oomph to get them going.  I recently had a Zombie which was topped off with Wray and Nephew White Overproof you could easily use this as a substitute.  It could also replace Myers’s in drinks where you maybe do not need the extra sweet treacle molasses flavour.

This really is a very good example of a classic Jamaican gold mixing rum and one I would recommend you seek out.  It offers a very punchy little alternative to Appleton V/X.

3 stars



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3 comments on “Hampden Estate Gold Jamaica Rum

  1. This rum is unaged Hampden, basically the Rum Fire marque watered down to 40% and colored.

  2. Good review. An alternate view is that such a rum that you call “rough” might actually be a better introduction. As an example in the book “Taste” (a food and spice book), the author – an expert taster – makes the point that foods that many of us might consider tough to appreciate are best introduced earlier and in small amounts. She states that it actually takes about 8 experiences to really know whether you like a particular taste or not, and thereby to likely develop a “taste” for an unusual or challenging taste.

    Capish? The truth is that all Jamaican rums are made classicly and they have stubbornly stuck to a their very real, unaltered rums that have a high ester, pot-stilled component. This is real rum, while most of the rest are thin young rums with little real flavor except for the unlabelled additives and secret flavorings, sugar and the like.

    Better you should start with a Jamaican before you get tied up with altered sugar bombs that will forever destroy one’s appreciation of rum.

    • You could be right but as most people arrive at rum via Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Lambs Navy Rum most come in at the sweeter end of the scale. Jamaican rums do take a lot of getting used to. The comments with regard “roughness” are more to the younger harsher nature of the spirit than any flavour as such. The flavours stand out more when mixed and the Hampden Estate makes a very funky rum and cola. I’m as much as mixer of rum as I am a sipper. Whilst some frown upon this it has never been my intention to become a Rum Snob or look down on people who mix rums. Some of my favourite rums I will only really mix, Chairman’s Reserve, Myers’s and Pusser’s Blue Label spring to mind immediately.

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