Review: Hampden Rums – “Great House” 2023, Pagos, and 8 Years Old

Review: Hampden Rums – “Great House” 2023, Pagos, and 8 Years Old

There’s little we like more than checking out goodies from Jamaica’s Hampden Estate, which only began releasing its stock under its own name in 2018. Here’s a peek at three new(ish) releases from the iconic operation.

Hampden “Great House” Rum Distillery Edition 2023 – This is the fifth edition of Great House, and these are always outstanding rums. There’s no information on what marks are used in the 2023 except that it is, as always, a blend (which changes every year by design). Bold but fruity, the rum pops from the get-go with notes of grilled fruit, ripe cherries, and dark chocolate on the nose. The palate is big with tropical fruit — grilled pineapple, papaya, and coconut husk, moving into more spice-driven tiki quality in short order. Glorious and expressive — and surprisingly well-balanced, never overblown with fruit the way some of Hampden’s rums can be. Even at 57% abv, this needs no water to go down easy. Too easy. 114 proof. A / $109

Hampden Rum Pagos – A unique, high-ester rum aged in 100% ex-sherry casks, solera style (with no formal age statement). Never mind the sherry, it’s the fruity esters that are most prominent here, pungent on the nose with elements of bubblegum, spiced apple pie, and overripened berries. The nose keeps going and going — coconut, orange peel, grapefruit, you name it. A little less blown-out on the palate, but not much, the super-fruit finding a tamer edge that focuses more on citrus, which is surely driven by the sherry casks. Coffee bean folds in on the lengthy yet refreshing finish. 104 proof. A- / $100

Hampden Rum 8 Years Old – Hampden’s flagship bottling, this 8 year old is (I believe) the oldest rum Hampden produces currently. At a comparatively tame 46% abv, it lacks the punch of many a Hampden rum’s nose, cutting a more savory, barrel-driven profile that is in keeping with its relatively advanced age. Notes of toasted bread, toasted coconut, and, well, toasted everything drive the experience forward, with a slightly winey bent. On the palate, fruit is present but muted, a smoldering note of cooked pineapple — more skin than meat — plus peach and almond lingering on the finish. Chewy and toasty, with a slight sesame afterimage. Definitely one of the most subtle Hampden rums, and one that requires more time (and a larger sample) than I had available. 92 proof. A- / $65

Hampden Rum 8 Years Old




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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