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This Hampden Great House 2020 is my 200th review on this website and obviously a great choice. Wow, my favourite rums so far are all from Barbados with FS distillery rums claiming top spots. Received a sample of this Jamaican rum and I was blown away, not like FS rums at all but totally as good. It was like combining a FS rum with the funkiness of Jamaican rum. At 59% this rum packs a punch but it is still thoroughly enjoyable to enjoy neat. I must now expend my collection to include Hampden products. Definitely a “10” in my opinion.
After reading the article in the side bar from Gear Patrol calling this rum the "Pappy of rums", I was intrigued. I only had one bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year in my life, which was 12 years ago when it was very affordable. I then watched the You Tube video from Ready Set Rum. That was all that it took for me to get on a quest to find this rum that was nearly impossible to find within 600 miles.
So I went to a favorite liquor store that also sells the best boiled crawfish. I checked behind their glass case for this one and all to no avail. However, they had another bottle of Caroni 2000 that I recently bought, and this one was $30 US more. I then browsed through their regular shelves of rums for a couple of repeat purchases. And there it was in a white gift box with green trim. This was the last bottle and it was only going for $83 US, which is at least $20 US cheaper than anywhere else. This was my lucky day! And the crawfish were all perfect as usual!
I could just let this one sit in my Glencairn glass and sniff the aroma for hours. Tasting it neat after letting it breathe is almost unbearable at nearly 118 proof. Just add one small ice cube, and it will greatly reduce the burn while really bringing out the flavors. I am terrible with tasting notes, but this is a mostly pleasant experience. There is the expected Jamaican hogo funk along with a few of the "dirty notes" that I don't care for. All in all, this was worth all of my effort and a LOT of luck.
So is this the "Pappy of rums"? Not really, and both from a collector's perspective and this rum taster's favorites. I found more than two dozen that I like better, while being much easier and cheaper to find. I am still glad that I took a chance on this one.
Update June 5, 2021: Being bummed out with winning very little from the trifecta in the last of the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes, I sipped on this rum to "celebrate" winning while losing money.
What a contrast , and so is this rum. As I sipped on it, I decided that I initially rated it too high, so I lowered my rating to the lower 7's in my spreadsheet. I sorted all of my Jamaican runs in order to do this.
Folks, save your money on this overly hyped rum from Jamaica! It is good, but certainly not worth the time and money to find this one!!! This also confirms my theory that European rum tastes are TOTALLY different than the ones from the USA and all rum drinkers from the USA should simply ignore most of those high rum ratings from Europe.
Nose: Cherries, Raspberries, Bananas, Honey, Coconuts, Caramel, Apricots, Cola, Maple Syrup, Violets, Pineapples, Mangoes, Vanilla, Cotton Candy
Palate: Cherry Cola, Bananas, Honey, Maple Syrup, Dark Chocolate, Prunes, Figs, Molasses, Root Beer
Finish: Cherry Cola, Raspberries, Strawberries
This rum is the epitome of hampden and jamaican rum. Incredibly oily, complex, rubbery, and funky, with the barrel rounding everything out to blend together.
I got this on a sample kit.
Dark caramel color.
Nose: Fruits (banana, mango, pineapple) some vanilla.
Taste: More fruits, tobacco, and allspice.
The ending is quite prolonged and bitter like dark chocolate and some lingering herbal notes.
Really good balance of funkiness. I love this expression.
This was the first Jamaican rum I've had that made me say, "that's funky". What a difference to the normal rums I enjoy. I liked it, but I can see only having this when I am in the mood for something different. I went back and tasted a few other Jamaican rums I had and was better able to taste some of the same notes in those after the Great House.
The nose was all bananas, bread, brown sugar, floral and a hint of sweat (yes, that's sweat not sweet). On the palate it was crisp, with herbal notes, dried fruits, and dark chocolate. The finish went on forever with a slight heat, wood, and - much to my surprise and enjoyment - the taste of roasted peanuts.
Tasted neat in a glencairn
Nose: immediately recognizable Hampden notes of tar, rotting fruit, cola, maybe even bring olives, but always with a sweetness
Mouth: an oily feel with the fruits up front - mangoes, bananas - then burnt sugar, brine, tar even notes of cherry cola and licorice. Wild ride!
Finish: long. Next morning even.
This is something special from the nose to finish. Incredible pot still Jamaican!
This latest Great House release is a mix of two marques: 80% OWH (low ester rum distilled in 2013), and 20% (high ester rum distilled in 2017, long fermented using wild yeasts and dunder). The base is molasses and cane juice, pot distilled. This Hampden shows up at a nice 59%ABV.
On the nose there is funk, alcohol, some bitterness, oak, over ripe pineapple, cherry, strawberry, kiwi and orange. Some water brings out some caramel.
The palate is creamy, ginger, pineapple, strawberry, raspberry, and dry.
The finish is dry, oak, and pepper.
Overall a very well put together and balanced Hampden rum.
Naprosto parádní rum, kde není tak moc jamaiky v chuti, ale je zde spoustu ovoce a květin. Určitě je více cítit estery než verze 2019, ale i tak naprosto bozi.
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A risky yet captivating gateway into Jamaican rum 9 out of 10
Nose: Outright synthetic funk: marker pens, rubber gloves, crayon labels, and dried glue. Cherry-flavored rootbeer. Memories of going to the cinemas with a large cold drink. However, what I find most captivating are the complex layers found beneath the initial pungency. Crushed walnuts, almost-rotten bananas, mango, oxidized apples, milk chocolate candy, and star anise. The scope of flavors is endless; I can keep nosing this forever. The oak influence seems subtle compared to what I assume come from esters prior to ageing. A few drops of water tame the funk and highlight the fruitbasket aromas and deep chocolate - a European brunch!
Palate: In many ways, most of the nose compresses and translates to the palate, but the central flavor seems to be a mix of the bananas and durian. A very brief jab of citrus. There are accents of ginger, lanzones, shiitake mushrooms, and eucalyptus. Rootbeer and old melon near the end of the development. With water, the spotlight moves onto jackfruit, melon, and menthol.
Finish: Goes on for days, with lingering rubber and durian.