Kill Devil Hampden 10 Year Old 2007 Cask Strength – The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

This review marks another Cask Strength Hampden Release from the Hunter Laing Kill Devil range exclusive to The Whisky Barrel…..my second review of a Whisky Barrel Exclusive Hampden this week! There was a previous Hampden 10 year TWB exclusive released earlier this year….in March…and another 16 year released to coincide with this 10 year. Hampden of course specialise in heavy 100% pot still rums harking back to Rum production of days gone by with the Plantation tracing its roots back to 1753. I have previously written about Hampden Estates own releases here, a 17 year Kill Devil Hampden release here and the recent 16 year Hampden Whisky Barrel Exclusive release here.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

Kill Devil Hampden 2007 Cask Strength – TWB Exclusive – 62.5% abv – Pure single Rum

This 10-year-old Rum is from a 2007 distillation and it has only Continental maturation. Presented at a cask strength of 62.5% it has no caramel colour and has not been chill filtered. With so many marques available with varying ester levels, it’d be interesting to find out what marque this is….without that information to hand, we’ll just have to try it.

Tasting Notes

Nose: With glass sitting on a table next to me this rum is so powerful that it feels like it’s beneath my nose. Very creamy. Lots of ethyl acetate. Sweet overripe banana, chargrilled pineapple and sharp cranberries. Again, very ripe juicy strawberries. Something acidic lurks like cider vinegar. Brine. Preserved lemons. Pickled cornichons with mustard seeds. Pink grapefruit rind. Molasses. Warm tires. Melting plastic. Light barrel notes. Sappy wood and eucalyptus. Beautifully vibrant.

Mouth: Neat it is very intense. Initially very sweet with bright fruit. This becomes quite acidic and then very dry very very quickly. Almost disappearing. I’ve only felt that to this length before with unaged DOK. Well stewed breakfast tea develops. The overriding taste is burnt toast with lots of butter…..making this rum an instant favourite as I use the smoke alarm to tell me when my toast is ready! With water it’s slightly more approachable, but still hellishly intense. The opening is slightly sweet and creamy and is all about beautiful Bajan Banana Jam….the best jam that I’ve ever tasted. Candied pineapple. Quite a bit of spice in the form of ginger, cinnamon bark and an earthy turmeric. The oak maturation displays itself more here…and it drags the fruit and spice onto the dry, oak led mid palate. Quite oily and tarry with a real dry spice note. Molasses. The finish, which is frankly sublime is initially fruity with that banana jam and pineapple before the cider vinegar and cornichon appears. Burnt, buttery toast is a real theme here and it marks an earthy return of the turmeric. Bonfire embers, molasses and burnt rubber round things out. The finish is a little short in the end. Perhaps due to the marque. It’s akin to trying pot still rum straight off the still…..initially intense and it then disperses far too quickly. Though the molasses is still with me.

4.5 / 5

It’s again a very very good rum, and all told, I prefer it’s youthful abandon to the slightly more refined 16 year. Both warrant your money though. To buy one however, I’d buy this.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Kill Devil Hampden 16 Year Old 2001 Cask Strength – The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

Specialist online retailer The Whisky Barrel always seem to be commissioning something interesting, whether whisky or rum….fortunately for us, but not our wallets, they seem to be upping the ante when it comes to their rum releases with a few solid Berry Bros. and Hunter Laing offerings.

There have been a few Cask Strength Hampden Kill Devil releases by Hunter Laing of late, this 2001 marks another to be released as an exclusive for The Whisky Barrel. This 16 year hails from a sister cask to the previous 2001 TWB exclusive released in July of this year. There is also 10 year 2007 to accompany this release which is again the second 10 year TWB exclusive to be released this year. Hampden of course specialise in heavy 100% pot still rums harking back to days gone by with the Plantation tracing its roots back to 1753. I have previously written about Hampden Estates own releases here, a 17 year Kill Devil Hampden release here and a previous Whisky Barrel Exclusive release here.

Kill Devil Hampden 16 Year Old 2001 Cask Strength – TWB Exclusive – 61.2% abv – Pure single Rum

This 156 bottle run of a 16-year-old Rum is from a 2001 distillation and it has only Continental maturation. Presented at a cask strength of 61.2% it has no caramel colour and has not been chill filtered. The 2001 distillation date hints that it may be the <>H marque as mentioned in the Hampden section of the Single Cask Rum website. The official Velier 70th Anniversary release of the Hampden <>H, a 2010 distillation of that marque with a full 7 years tropical maturation is a bottle that evaded me upon launch and still evades me to this day. I have however tried it as a result of the generosity of a sample from a friend…..it left me wanting more though.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Astringent varnish. Furniture polish. A freshly opened tin of gloss paint. Intense pear drop acetone but with a really fruity and sharp nose. Overripe banana. Caramelised pineapple. Haribo strawberry sweets. There’s real depth to the fruit and a stewed plum and prune quality…Still quite sharp though. A little time in the glass brings freshly sliced ginger, an almost fragrant floral coriander seed. Toasted coconut. Pencil shavings. Freshly sawn wood. Peppery. Growing oak presence. It starts to become quite smoke driven, well, more burnt splints from Chemistry lessons, and for a while that dominates. Coming back to it, quite salty. Olives. Brine. Light menthol character. Pine air freshener. Intense stuff

Mouth: With no water…..Warming, hot, spicy entry. Salty, zestly lemon and olives. Black Forest ham. Heavy molasses. Dry dry dry oak. With water….Still spicy, still hot…but fruitier too. Caramelised pineapple that’s just caught…it gives rise to a bittersweet treacle. Burnt banana loaf. A nice backbone of oak carries things along. Strawberries, very similar to the Rum Fire Velvet….Citrus peel. The mid palate is dominated by spicy, grippy oak. Cinnamon (bark not powdered), ginger. Strong building site cabin tea. Soft liquorice and sugar-coated liquorice torpedoes develop. The finish, which is measured in tens of minutes starts off with salty liquorice and a touch of black olive before the cooked burnt fruit kicks it’s way in…Pineapple, banana and then a bitter lemon zest. Quite tangy. Very well-integrated musty oak coated in molasses rounds things out.

Well balanced, poised and multi-faceted. Depth of flavour and aroma that others would kill for. Hampden fares better than most when it comes to continental maturation, which is a bonus as it’s all that we’ve had from them for a while as far as aged stock goes…..at least up until the Habitation Velier releases were unleashed….and now their own Estate bottlings which will be on these pages soon. This is a very good example of a very good distilleries output at a bit of a bargain price…..though the previous release was a few quid cheaper!

4.5 / 5

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Habitation Velier Worthy Park 2007

We’re no strangers to Worthy Park here at Rum Diaries HQ, we even started up the Worthy Park Society on Facebook, which you can join by clicking here. We have also written about quite a few Worthy Park releases. Todays review focuses on another Habitation Velier bottling, but this time it actually has the Worthy Park Distillery name on the label as opposed to WP or Forsyths from the previous Habitation Velier releases…..and talking about Habitation Velier releases, my thoughts on the earlier bottlings can be found here and a little history of the Worthy Park Estate can be found hereRight back to it…..

Worthy Park 2007 – Pure Single Jamaican Rum – 59% abv – 10 years old – WPL Marque

What is different about this release apart from the name. Well, a distillation date of 2007 for a start….but it is also the WPL marque. WPL being the Worthy Park Light marque with an ester level of 60-119 gr/hL AA which we first saw in the Habitation Velier Forsyths WP 2005. It was a very impressive Rum. This too has seen a maturation period of 10 years at the Worthy Park Estate, the Vale of Lluidas in the Parish of St Catherine. It also suffered a loss of 64% to evaporation….but this release is presented at 59%. Time to dig in….

Tasting Notes

Nose: Quite a calm approach for a 59% spirit. The trademark overripe banana is clearly present, the signature of Worthy Park. Quite waxy. A nice level of astringency, not too nose destroying and not underwhelming either. Nice integration of the alcohol here. New white board marker pens. Quite a lot of cereal notes and some spicy rye. Ice cream wafers. A touch of milk chocolate with freshly shaved coconut. Black tea, a freshly opened bag of mixed nuts and a beautiful warming and slightly spicy sweet oak. Something ‘dairy’ is in there too.

Mouth: Big oily mouthfeel. A real chewy palate pleaser. Citrus notes, salty lemon rind. Sweet cure bacon. Heavy bourbon oak influence and well-integrated alcohol. You have to wait for the sweetness to join the party…..but it does. Cocoa, banana chips, biscuity cheesecake base, BBQ bananas. Sweet grain whisky. The mid palate has the fading sweetness of coconut and milk chocolate and brings forward the stewed black tea before the spicy grains and bourbon oak make another appearance. The long finish is full and spice led initially. Very oaky, drying and suitably warm. A hint of molasses bitter sweetness. A short wait brings a smoke led oaken character and lightly smoked cheese. Molasses rounds off a truly pleasurable rum. So very drinkable.

Again Worthy Park have produced a corker of a rum. The only thing that this rum suffers from for me is the fact that it’s not the exemplary 2006 WPM…..but it’s not meant to be. Different marques, different Rums. They are all 100% unmistakably Worthy Park but they are doing things slightly differently than the Hampden, Monymusk and Long Pond releases. Less bright fruit, more banana and oak influence. It works, makes them unique and I love everything that they stand for and nearly everything that they produce. Colour me smitten. It’s worth your money.

5 / 5

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Transcontinental Rum Line Jamaica WP2013

The Transcontinental Rum Line brand is owned by La Maison du Whisky and in their own words:

“The Transcontinental Rum Line is inspired by Rum Casks’ historical trips between the New World and the Old Continent. From the beginning of its production Rum has always been shipped to Europe for nautical, economical and technical reasons”

So what we gather is that the Rums within the range have a portion of both Tropical and Continental maturation. Fortunately this information is housed on the front and rear bottle labels.

Now I’ve written on a lot of solely Tropically matured Worthy Park releases, some unaged and some having a 12 month ‘finish’ in a Continental climate. This information can be found by clicking here, here and here. With a wealth of other Worthy Park bottlings on my shelves, this number of articles will only increase.

So lets dig straight into it……

Transcontinental Rum Line Jamaica WP2013 – 57% abv – Pure Single Rum

As stated on the label, this Rum is presented at 57% (Navy Strength). Distilled at Worthy Park in 2013 and bottled in Europe in 2017 it spent 57% of its maturation time in Continental weather giving just shy of 2 years maturation in Jamaica and just in excess of 2.5 years maturation in a Continental climate.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Oily in the glass and of a light straw colour. Huge nose of pear drops, acetone and model glue. Some window putty too. Trademark Worthy Park banana but it’s a vibrant green banana initially carried on those stinging estery notes. A large punchy molasses note runs straight through the nose carrying with it buttery pastry wrapped treacle tart and creamy vanilla custard. There is a small wood influence but it’s more sappy and resinous than outright oak. Time in the glass works wonders for this rum….allow the initial sting of young alcohol to subside and you’ll be rewarded. It has that salty oily citrus and powdered sugar thing that I adore in young Ledaig offerings. A little rubbery note follows most visits to the glass along with brine and black olive tapenade. It has a grassy agricole like edge and it’s also a little ‘farm yard’ with notes of hay.

Mouth: Very heated entry with a dominant peppery note gives way to a growing sweetness once the initial alcohol shock has subsided. Light cocoa and milky hot chocolate. It becomes quite salty too….salted liquorice. That trademark overripe banana appears and brings with it caramelised sugar and syrupy pineapple. Tropical fruit topped flapjacks. Quite drying on the mid palate which is where the molasses takes hold. Light nuttiness and a lot of spice….think nutmeg and fennel seeds. There’s a slight metallic tang to the rum and it sits off the back of the molasses notes that feels like licking treacle off a spoon….in fact I’ve previously described this rum as being like licking treacle off a spoon whilst someone flambes bananas in the next room. It’s youth remains very apparent throughout and the alcohol is not as well-integrated as I would like and as well-integrated as some of the unaged Worthy Park that I’ve tried, but sometimes that doesn’t ruin the experience….and this is one of those times. Olives, vibrant cane and floral notes nestle in the resultant vapours at the back of your throat. The finish is a long one, resplendent with those caramelised mushy bananas, molasses and salty brine. Growing peppery dryness and those acetone vapours keep you company for a good while.

It’s a very good rum. I purchased my second bottle the day after my first sip of this bottle. It sits on an almost 50/50 split of tropical and continental maturation and is a very good example of that practice. Sure it’s not as impressive as some of the Habitation Velier releases or their own Single Estate Reserve Cask Strength and the alcohol integration issues could be off-putting, but it just works for me. I love the stuff. Makes a killer daiquiri too.

4 / 5

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve – Velier 70th Anniversary Edition

This review is kind of an extension to my overview of all three of the Worthy Park Signature Range which you can read all about here. I had no idea that this Worthy Park release was even a thing. One day whilst browsing the pages of an Italian spirits site, this release jumped out towards me. A 57% abv version of the quite fabulous 45% Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve. After a little chat with Zan, it was added to my basket and duly purchased. Eventually (following a little incident with 24 bottles of Ginger Beer), it arrived.

Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve – Velier 70th Anniversary Edition – 57% abv – Pure Single Rum

As with the 45% release, this Rum is tropically aged for between 6 to 10 years. It is made up of 100% WPL Marque (60-119 gr/laa). As with the 45% release, this has caramel colour but has not been chill-filtered. Let’s get to it then.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Beautifully oily. A huge nose. A fair bite and sting of alcohol given its abv. A little air and time allows the goodness to push through. Intense Worthy Park banana. Thick, gloopy molasses….think dipping a spoon into a tin of treacle. Shortcrust pastry mincemeat tarts with a spoonful of stewed apples laced with cinnamon. Black tea and buttered spice bun. Vanilla and a solid undercurrent of oak. Salty olives and preserved lemons. Acetone but not a dominant note. A little kola nut on the back-end. 5 or 6 drops of water opens up a basket of fresh tropical fruit and a gentle creamy custard tart. It also evokes the molasses aroma from a hot distillery tour.

Mouth: Big. Fat. Oily. Very hot initially. It takes over your mouth entirely. You’re powerless to resist. A strong spike of black pepper initially gives way to a drying, moisture sapping oak that grabs your tongue and won’t let go. Salty brine and preserved lemons. Citrus oil drips over the edges of your tongue. The mid-palate is where this rum shines. Flambé banana. A freshly open pack of dried tropical fruit. The bitterness of molasses and soft liquorice. It’s a chewy rum full of chocolate coated banana chips and toffee-like dates. Buttery slices of malt loaf….the kind that sticks to your teeth. Rum and Raisin fudge stuffed into a banana and warmed on the bbq. Added water (bringing it down to about 52-53%) affords you the ability to enjoy a less heated sip that brings the addition of date and walnut cake, lighter molasses and banana pancakes.

I had a slight issue with the finish on the 45%….enough to mark it with the same 4.5 stars as the Marsala Cask Finish as I thought that the Oloroso finish trumped them both. No such issues here. It’s everything that I needed from the 45% and so much more. Very long, warming and peppery. Dry oak, a little cigar leaf. A full spoonful of molasses, liquorice root, walnut and the merest hint of fudge. It just goes on and on. A really beautiful finish for a really beautiful rum.

5 / 5

Worthy Park are pretty much nailing it release after release. It’s all there in this bottle. Including heaps of the trademark Worthy Park banana…..to quote a man far more eloquent than me…..“nobody does banana better than WP which of course is a very good thing because who the fu*k does not love banana”

It’s an exciting (and expensive) time to be embedded in the rum universe.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kill Devil Hampden 17

Now we have the basis laid down for Hampden Estate with its own bottlings here, we can look to explore some independent releases….of which there are plenty. Kill Devil seem to be in possession of plenty of Hampden Rum as their releases from the distillery are growing in number….particularly on the Cask Strength side with a 24-year-old (which I’ve never tasted), a very small release of less than 60 bottles of a 9-year-old Cask Strength rum which will be coming to this site and a limited edition bottling of a Cask Strength 10-year-old for The Whisky Barrel….which I have on order as I write this. Kill Devil are the Rum arm (Golden Devil in the U.S) of Hunter Laing, specialist blenders and bottlers of single malt whisky. They bottle either at 46% (50% as standard in the U.S with no Cask Strength releases) or at natural Cask Strength….un-chill filtered and with no additions or colouring. They apply their whisky principles to their Rum releases. They really are true single cask releases. The Kill Devil range is Hunter Laing’s showcase of the quality and diversity of rum available in the Caribbean and from further afield.  So without further fuss…let’s dig into this bottle.

Kill Devil Hampden 17 – 46% – Pure Single Rum

Distilled in the traditional twin retort pot still at Hampden Distillery in December 1998, some 11 years prior to the current ownership taking over and 5 years prior to it being subject to a government takeover, this Rum was bottled in 2016 giving it over a full 17 years of maturation. There is an 18-year-old bottling from the same distillation date of December 1998 which I will look at in time.

Tasting Notes

Glass: The pale white wine coloured liquid has one hell of a nose. Even at 46% this is bursting from the glass. Huge. Pungent and typically Hampden….but also a touch Long Pond too in its fruity delivery. Esters esters esters. Acetone. Varnish. Buckets of fruit both ripe and overripe. A clear and definite menthol note. Sweet Victoria pineapples. Ripe strawberry sweetness. Almost perfumed. Pineapple mint. Overripe bananas. Guava juice. Sugared almonds. Olives. Smoked cheese. This is a joy to sit and nose. It just keeps on giving. Beautiful fruit, confectionery, fresh mint and sappy pine notes. Not the funkiest Hampden that I’ve tried, but it’s massively pungent.

Mouth: Sweetness is the vibe initially backed with an amazingly medicinal quality of acetone, varnish and a little pine. The sweetness fades relatively quickly but whilst its there the initial overwhelming note is Pineapple….a lot of pineapple. Grilled and sticky sweet. The fade brings a slightly bitter or more likely sour note…like fizzy sour sweets or a past its best fermenting pineapple. Further refreshers reveal more of that base sweetness….green apples, ginger syrup and a light vanilla. Kola Kubes. Pear drops. The sweet / sour interplay of a ruby grapefruit. Citrus oil appears along with that beautiful sweet and menthol pineapple mint interplay that was present on the nose. There is a lack of any real oak influence in this which probably assists in allowing the fruit to shine through. Savoury notes of olives and brine are present as expected but are nowhere near the dominating flavours. At the back-end I found the finish to be of a medium length and as the sweetness of that pineapple fades it boosts the menthol and pine quality to the fore. White wine. Pomelo with a sprinkling of black pepper and a little clove oil. Surprisingly whisky like too. The finish for me after such a flavour and aroma explosion was quite disappointing and by far the weak link here…..thats because it was so vibrant and giving at the front end. But if you carry on refilling your glass…..you always maintain the sweet spot of those aromas and flavours.

4 / 5

An amazing Rum that for me was a little bit of a let down at the finish line. A more vibrant finish would’ve seen an extra half mark on the score. But if you see this, you should buy it. Money well spent.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Hampden Estate – Hampden Gold and Rum Fire Velvet

Amazingly this will mark only the second and third rums from Hampden Estate to feature in the site, the first being the quite excellent Excellence Rhum Collection release. I thought it useful to gather some information and give a little background on the Hampden Estate and their history.

Hampden Estate, known for their incredibly pungent pot still output lies in the northwest parish of Trelawny in the Queen of Spain valley and first operated as a large sugar plantation in around 1753. At this time it was owned by a Scotsman by the name of Mr Archibald Sterling. In 1779 the Hampden Great House was built on the Estate with the large ground floor functioning as a rum store until the early 1900’s. 20 years later in 1799 the upper residential level of the Great House was added.

Hampden Estate Great House

Solidly embedded in Jamaican history, Hampden Estate established the Hampden Presbyterian Church in around 1824 making it the first church of that denomination in Jamaica. Under the ownership of Mr Archibald Sterling up until circa 1827, the Estate then came into the ownership of Dermot Owen Kelly-Lawson, Justice of the Peace of Trelawny. Ena Kelly-Lawson, his daughter, married a Mr Farquharson who upon her death inherited Hampden Estate. The Farquharson’s owned and operated the estate as a sugar and rum production facility until financial difficulties in 2003 saw the government operated Jamaica Sugar Company take ownership . So essentially during a 250 year period spanning 1753-2003, the Estate was owned and operated by only two families. The government ownership was also accompanied by the shouldering of an element of debt to help protect local employment. At one time the Estate was renowned to be in possession of some of the best Cane yield lands in Jamaica and boasted the highest tonne of sugar from tonne of cane milled. But due to a perceived lack of investment from the previous owners it was deemed that the estate had become archaic, therefore inefficient and subsequently unprofitable. In 2009 following a legal dispute relating to the estates previous owners, Everglade Farms Limited owned by the Hussey Family acquired the Estate via public auction as a result of a divestment of assets by the Jamaica Sugar Company. A commitment was made by Everglade Farms to invest $6.2 million into Hampden Estate and Long Pond Sugar Factory (not distillery) and this brought with it an element of stability to the Trelawny economy.

As far as the Rum itself goes….Hampden is a treasure trove of goodness. They specialise in the making of heavy Pot Still rums and have in-depth knowledge in the art of making High Ester Rums that can only be gained from experience handed down from generation to generation. Hampden do not use commercial yeast.  They culture, suspend and regenerate their own. They also use that most mythical of creatures….the dunder pit. They’re also still using fermenters made more than 100 years ago. This is centuries old traditional Rum making at its best…..a place that I’d love to visit.

Hampden make a variety of marques ranging from 50 to 1600 Esters. The higher the ester range, the more intense the aroma of the rum. Their rums are used extensively in the blending of other rums throughout the world and their higher ester rums are used by the food, flavoring and perfume industries. Familiar known marque names will be LROK, HLCF, <>H and DOK but there are many more.

Although certain marques are set aside for ageing, the majority of Hampden’s business comes from bulk Rum sales to the likes of E & A Scheer in Holland.

There is plenty of other reading on the subject of Hampden Estate and one of the most in-depth sources can be found here

All of that brings me to the fun subject of  the two Rums that I have chosen to look at today…..Hampden Gold and Rum Fire Velvet.

Hampden Gold – 40% – Unaged – Pure Single Rum

Tasting Notes

Glass: The Rum is a completely unaged pale straw gold. Now do we see the uselessness of categorisation by colour? E150a….Spirit Caramel. In this instance they’re not doing it to dupe you, quite the opposite. It’s being done to combat your preconceptions about unaged Rum. To allow a quality distillate to be experienced by those that would otherwise write it off. They’re not hiding it, however it would be good to have some acknowledgement of this on the label. Initial aromas definitely show us that we’re in pure pot still Jamaican territory. Acetone. Pear drops. Tropical fruit….think papaya and guava. Beautiful bruised bananas. Molasses. A touch of freshly cut green apple. Light sweetness.

Mouth: The Rum has a very thin mouthfeel and carries none of the sweetness present on the nose. It’s very spirit driven. Molasses. A light vegetal, almost agricole like sugarcane note. Fresh, ice-cold apple juice. Lidl Apple Loop sweets. Mixed tropical fruit jam. Dialed down funk. Even though its very light (for a Jamaican) and has a very thin mouthfeel, I enjoy it. It doesn’t have the abv to hammer home what makes its origins great but it could be a gentle introduction to the style and at a good price to display the quality of the distillate even down at 40%. Better to nose than to drink, but solid stuff for their entry-level nonetheless. Great in a rum and coke which is where I use it.

3 / 5

Hampden Rum Fire Velvet – 63% – Unaged – Pure Single Rum

Tasting Notes

Glass: Wild. This is more like it. A huge fruity arrival. It grabs you by the scruff of the neck and screams Jamaican! They use dunder at Hampden…and it shows. Plump ripe strawberries and their fresh candied sweet aroma. Lots of citrus oil. Overripe mashed banana. Green cooking apples. Kiwi fruit. Funky as hell. Really heavy vibrant sugarcane notes. Root vegetables…earthy turnips and parsnips. Something rotten on the compost heap. Stinging acetone. A coating of varnish on a cheap cricket bat. Wax. Brine. Olives. Rather weirdly the aroma of passing the flue of the boiler that exhausts at the side of my house. Slightly metallic. Simultaneously both heavy and light. Beautiful natural sweetness. It’s the Rum equivalent of the state that Newt from Aliens was in when Ripley found her.

Mouth: An oily flavour explosion and way more approachable than I expected. That’s not to say you can dive in. You have to acclimatise. Small sips to ease yourself in. Very hot. Very peppery. Very funky. Pear drops. Acetone. Savoury leads the way with olives, brine and freshly cut fiery ginger. Quite herbal. Very agricole like in its root vegetable quality. The sweetness pushes through on the mid-palate though and its very welcome. The juice from a chewed chunk of freshly cut sugarcane. It’s quite sharp too. Cloudy apple juice and apple purée. Fleshy pears. It has a very creamy and oily mouthfeel…its also really floral. Citrus oils. A drop or two of water really helps open the Rum up and releases Guava jam. More apples. Tropical fruit. Salty crackers. Aniseed sweets. The finish is long, warming and returns to the savoury leading with anise, salty olives and vegetable crisps. Crispy seasoned lotus root. Molasses and that magical vapour that can only be fresh, vibrant Jamaican Rum allows it to finish really cleanly. It’s a brute of a Rum that needs a cautious approach….a bit like a game of Buckaroo….gently gently.

4 / 5

This is pretty much the only distillery produce available on the market in the UK with the USA getting Rum Fire which is a higher ester version of the Velvet. There is no doubting the quality and tradition that goes into the production of these Rums. Both are definitely worthy of a purchase. The aged independent stuff from Hampden Estate for me is where the real fun lies though….and it is those releases that will be getting a run out in the coming months as I’ve a wealth of releases from Habitation Velier, Velier, Adelphi, Blackadder and Kill Devil to choose from. Stay tuned.

Newt

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.