Jamaica’s Hampden continues to crank out special edition rums, including this pair of highly limited offerings which hit at the tail end of 2021. Let’s dig in.
Hampden “Great House” Rum Distillery Edition 2021 – Great House got its start with the 2020 edition — which we loved — and now edition #2 is here. This one’s slightly different than the 2020 bottling, a 50-50 blend of two of Hampden’s high ester rums, Diamond H and LFCH (subbing in for last year’s OWH, which comprised 80% of the blend). Vintage information on the two marques in the blend wasn’t provided to us, but let’s try it. This is a much different rum than the 2020 and a far more pungent, funk-filled product. Heavily vegetal and earthy, with some smokiness in the mix, the fruit here comes across as very much overripe — and pushy with cloves and ginger. The palate is more interesting, though initially quite hot and racy, its notes of nutty banana bread melding oddly with notes of turned earth, aged wood, stewed prunes, and some chimney soot elements. The finish comes across as slightly gummy due to the surfeit of fruit, though it’s so rich in flavor and complexity it’s hard not to keep coming back to it. 110 proof. A- / $100
Hampden “The Younger” Rum 5 Years Old 2021 – A youthful investigation into younger Hampden, this marque of very high ester rum called “Light Rum Owen Kelly” (LROK) was distilled in 2016 and bottled in 2021 at the age of five. It may be light in color and relatively youthful, but this is powerful and fun stuff. The nose is racy with barrel char and ultra-ripe fruit, some green grass in the mix here. Soothing on the palate with lingering oak and ample vanilla notes, the fruit here is less overripe and more refreshing, with notes of coconut, banana, and peach all in the mix. A slow fade of vanilla and brown sugar round out the finish. It’s a stellar sipper, but I’d experiment with mixing with this if it weren’t a criminal offense to do so… and if I had any more. 94 proof. A / $60 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]