Jamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros

Jamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros rum review by the fat rum pirateJamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros. Independent Whisky Bottlers have a long tradition of putting out some rather decent rum over the years. In fact quite a few of the most respected “Independent Bottlers” of rum are primarily Whisky bottlers.

Names such as Silver Seal, Cadenhead’s and Duncan Taylor are well known and well established. However, over the past few years as more Whisky enthusiasts are beginning to discover rum – more and more “Whisky” bottlers are turning to rum.

Now Thompson Bros have only been around since 2016, but over the past couple of years have shown a really good eye for single cask rums, in particular they seem to really enjoy and appreciate the funky style of rum that comes from Jamaica and the heavy style adopted by the now defunct Caroni Distillery, Trinidad.

Now both styles of rum are extremely popular in Rum Enthusiasts circles. However, over the past few years a particular style.marque of Jamaican Rum has become even more popular.

As bottlers such as Velier began giving more and more information on bottles “Rum Geeks” began asking more and more questions. Leading to more and more information being made available. Whilst it was known that Jamaican Rum producers such as Hampden and National Rums of Jamaica had different Rum Marques it wasn’t always made clear which marque was being bottled. It also wasn’t common knowledge how many “esters” were present in a bottle of rum.

Now I’m no Chemist or any kind of Science Geek. I know esters give certain flavours and intensity to alcohol. They supply the funk if you like………..if you want a more scientific explanation of what esters do then I’d read this piece here provided by Rum Auctioneer. It will explain things far better than I ever could! Trust me.

So what relevance is “high ester rum” in the context of this review? Well this particular JHK (Jamaican Hampden Kelly-Lawson?) is actually a DOK marque. Which stands for Dermot Owen Kelly-Lawson. Who was an owner of Hampden Estate in the 1800’s.

Now for those unfamiliar with the DOK marque it is Hampden Estates highest ester count rum. With rums produced with this marque clock in at around 1500-1600 esters gr/hlAA. It’s as “funky” as rum gets.

Now there has been a bit of a debate about the use of these rums and what they were originally intended for. Some will contend they are not really for drinking. This is backed up by their use in perfume and confectionary products. They have also been used as a flavour in alcohol such as Rum Verschnitt – a mix of neutral alcohol and often high ester rum. Designed to re-create Jamaican rum on the cheap…………However a lot of rum enthusiasts get very excited about these rums. Seeking out higher esters and higher proof bottlings………

Now Thompson Bros have introducted a “ballot” system for a quite a few of their whisky bottlings and limits on how many bottles per person etc. With this rum release they initially opened it as a ballot. I do not think the ballot was for the full outturn of bottles and some may reach retailers soon. Don’t quote me on that though.Jamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros rum review by the fat rum pirate

Jamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros is a 12 year old rum which was distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2021. It has been released at Cask Strength of 62.1% ABV. From a Single Cask which yielded 322 70cl bottles. it is non-chill filtered and has no colouring or any other additives. It was priced at £58.33 excluding VAT – so £68.54 by the time you add the VAT. So just under £70 for a Cask Strength bottling of DOK. This is 100% Pot Still rum. It has been aged in an ex-bourbon cask.

Although this isn’t noted as one of Thompson Bros collaborations with Bar Tre the artwork has been provided by their employee Yu Kurahashi

In the glass Jamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros has clearly not been messed around with as per the information on the website. It is light in colour of a 12 year old rum suggesting Continental ageing. It is straw/white wine colour.

The nose is very fruity – strong almost fermented Pineapple Juice, Passion Fruit, Guava and some black banana. It’s not as gluey or as solvent heavy as some Jamaican rums but it still has a good hit of creosote and nail varnish.

Notes of vanilla and some oaky spice and a touch of Scotch Whisky also come through. It’s got a touch of smoke and some light herbal notes.

This rum is as funky as you will find but it has a really nice balance to it. It’s not over the top to the point where things get out of hand. Everything gels nicely.

Sipped at full strength it is very funky,, slightly astringent and has a lip smacking tartness on the initial couple of sips.

It will take your palate time to adjust to this rum so don’t judge it by the first few sips or glass.

Gooseberries and tart Pineapple notes hit you initially. This is folowed up by some sweeter vanilla notes, some apricot jam and some marmalade.

The mid palate reveals a more savoury whisky like complexity. The vanilla and oak spice begin to integrate more. The nail varnish and creosote that was apparent on this nose make an appearance at this stage before moving onto the finish.

Jamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros rum review by the fat rum pirateTo be honest the finish is where I find DOK marque rums to be a little bit of a let down in some ways. The DOK marque gets a lot drier towards the finish than other Jamaican rums. As a result whilst you still get a fairly good fade of the flavours from the mid palate it doesn’t seem to evolve – it all just kind of dries up leaving behind a tart after taste which I am not all that fond of. It’s really quite a sour end which isn’t my favourite type of finish for a rum.

Jamaican Rum JHK Thompson Bros is the type of rum you will need to be in the mood for. It’s not something you will drink a lot of in one sitting. It is pretty intense stuff and can leave anything you drink afterwards seeming quite tame in comparison.

If you are looking for high ester funky Jamaican rum then this is a good choice. It’s keenly priced and (hopefully) a couple of retailers will get a few bottles.




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