Hampden Great House Distillery Edition

Hampden Great House Distillery Edition Rum review by the fat rum pirateHampden Great House Distillery Edition. It is always good to see producers such as Hampden putting out their own bottlings of aged rum, rather than selling bulk rum for others to profit from. It seems the distillery has grown in confidence and they now have a commercial bottling of the rum they drink on the estate.

The good stuff they have previously kept for themselves if you like. The two previous official aged Hampden bottlings the 46% and 60% were blended by Luca Gargano of Velier. In this instance Vivian Wisdom the Master Distiller at Hampden Estate was responsible for the blending of this rum. Unlike so many of the Independent Bottlings of Hampden this is not a single cask rum.

Indeed over 3000 bottles have been released of this aged rum blend. The rum comprises 2 marques

OWH (Outram W Hussey – the Hussey family own the distillery) ester count between 40-80 makes up 80% of the blend.

-Diamond H 900-1000 ester count

So we have a small proportion of a pretty “high” ester rum Hampden produce blended with the lowest ester count. I guess the theory behind this (as with most blending) is to obtain a more balanced and palatable product. The rums in this blend are a minimum of 7 years old.

Being a Hampden Estate rum the juice is 100% Pot Distilled and the rums have been aged tropically in ex-bourbon barrels. Hampden Great House Distillery Edition is presented at 59% ABV. A 70cl bottle in the UK will set you back around £90. Many places have sold their  allocations. It is believed that this “batch” comprised of just over Hampden Great House Distillery Edition Rum review by the fat rum pirate3,000 bottles worldwide. Distribution in the UK was handled by Speciality Drinks (The Whisky Exchange).

Presentation wise Hampden have kept the same Velier influenced opaque 3/4 bottle. In terms of the artwork on the bottle and sleeve it looks a little more “branded” than the previous Velier bottlings, with the official Hampden logo. The white,red and black colour scheme works nicely.

There isn’t a great deal of information on the actual rum in the bottle on either the sleeve or bottle. Something the prior Velier bottlings were very big on.

That said it is a well presented package and is retailing (to me) at a very fair price. I was expecting it to be a little more over £100.

This rum has been very well received by rum enthusiasts – it was a real highlight at London Rumfest. For some reason though it hasn’t been reviewed all that much. I could only find two reviews, one from Barrel Aged Thoughts and one from Le Blog a Roger. I’m not sure why I haven’t reviewed this earlier to be honest!

If you wish to find more information on Jamaican rum (in particular the Marque’s) then this article on Cocktail Wonk may prove useful.

I’ve pretty much exhausted all I know about this rum so lets get down to some nosing and tasting.

In the glass Hampden Great House Distillery Edition is a light golden brown colour. A shade or two lighter than the perhaps more “traditional” dark spirit colour. So I am guessing no caramel colouring has been added.

The nose will come as no surprise to anyone who has experienced Hampden expressions in the past. Hampden have a very distinctive style of rum. However, as many expressions I have reviewed in the past have been single casks ie not blends this seems a little more subtle, more balanced perhaps.

All the usual suspects line up – Banana, huge amounts of vinegary slighty fermented Pineapple Juice, White Grapes, Green Apple and subtle hints of peppery oak spice and ginger BUT it all seems to have just a little more balance.

Hampden Great House Distillery Edition Rum review by the fat rum pirateEven at 59% ABV it is very pleasant and approachable to the nostrils. It doesn’t scream out at you the way a 100% DOK bottling might. Don’t be deceived either by the “low” ester count of the OWH marque that makes up the majority of the blend. This is not a light and flavourless rum by any stretch of the imagination!

Further nosing and time in the glass reveals subtle notes of vanilla and a slightly smoky aroma. This is a punchy an very fruity nose.

Sipped at the full ABV the intial entry is very spicy with lots of white pepper and really heavy oak spices – almost bourbon esque in some ways. Further sips reveal much more of the aromas found in the nose. I can taste the Pineapple Juice, Banana and Green Apple. The entry is now much fruitier but you still get a good blast of smoky and vibrant wood spice.

The mid palate brings out more of the vanilla but the vibrant, rich fruity flavours remain as Redcurrants and tart Raspberry but in an appearance. Each sip seems to develop the rums complexity. More and more flavours come to the fore on the mid palate and the finish. Burnt toast and some bonfire marshmallows, a touch of English Breakfast Tea.

Finish wise this is long and satisfying with a wonderful evolving of the oak and woody spices through to the long and very complex finish. The finish is by far the most savoury aspect of this rum as the sweeter notes take a backseat to allow the now slighty musty  and every so slightly salty and smoky woody oak notes come through and gently but never completely fade out.Hampden Great House Distillery Edition Rum review by the fat rum pirate

If you are a fan Hampden Estate rums then this is a complete no-brainer. Easily one of the best Jamaican rums I have tried up there perhaps with my much loved Duncan Taylor Long Pond bottling. Don’t concern yourself with the relatively “low” age of this rums and compare it to 25 year old continentally aged rums and expect it to be anyway inferior.

It’s actually not that easy to find as a lot of stores have sold out their allocation. Hopefully though this will be an annual release. The best official bottling from Hampden Estate so far?

I think so, if not the best Hampden Estate rum I have had, full stop.





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One comment on “Hampden Great House Distillery Edition

  1. Thought I’d missed out on this, but just found it still available on Nickolls & Perks if anyone is still after a bottle.

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