We’re getting excited about a fabulous rum this week from the Hampden Estate, one of the oldest sugar estates in Jamaica. Known for its punchy, flavourful heavy pot still rums, our new arrival this week certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Hampden Estate has been in the business of delicious rum since 1753. Tropical fruit, funk and high ester pot still rums are the distillery’s thing. If you’re not familiar with Hampden Estate, then there’s no better place to get a feel for the distillery’s style than Hampden Great House Distillery Edition, because it was literally crafted to showcase what the distillery is renowned for.
Since 2009, the estate has been owned by the Hussey family, who are invested in preserving the traditions and values of Hampden. For example, the boiling house is covered in old wooden walkways, where fermentation takes place for up to three weeks (which is pretty darn lengthy in the fermentation game), with 89 fermentation tanks each holding between 9,000 and 13,500 litres. The distillery makes use of the unique wild yeasts that live and reproduce in the fermentation rooms. No commercial yeast to be seen here! There are four stills, which is where the magic happens. The oldest is a John Dore, from the oldest distillery engineering business in the world, installed back in 1960. The very first stocks were aged on the estate in 2010 after the acquisition by the Hussey family in 2009, and these stocks were used in the very first Hampden Estate releases.
Now, onto the rum! Hampden Great House Distillery Edition was created by the master distiller, blending the most representative marques (or marks) of the distillery. To get technical, this is made from a blend of tropically-aged 2012 OWH and 2016 <>H marques (all Jamaican rum distilleries make a variety of distillates, from light to heavy rums, and each batch falls within one of their marques). ‘OWH’ has an ester level of 40 to 80 gr/hL AA (grams per hectoliter of absolute alcohol), standing for ‘Outram W. Hussey’, while ‘<>H’ has an ester level of 900 to 1,000 gr/hL AA, which stands for ‘Hampden’. For perspective, the highest ester level allowed for export by Jamaican regulations is 1,600 gr/hL AA, so this one is pretty powerful stuff.
It’s blended with local spring water and bottled up at a burly 59% ABV, packed full of funk and flavour. The result is a truly authentic and unique Trelawny rum, full of everything we know and love from Hampden Estate. Initially, the release of 1,200 bottles was only sold at the distillery in Jamaica and at a few special events around Europe. Luckily, we got our mitts on the awesome bottle, and we’re rather big fans.
Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt
Toasted brioche, pineapple, BBQ lemon, cigar box, oily smoke and a little hint of chocolate sauce.