The Barrel Sample: Hampden Great House Distillery Edition

Hampden Great House Distillery Edition (HGHDE) from Hampden, Jamaica was launched earlier this year and it already sold out. Put together by Vivian Wisdom, Hampden’s Master Distiller, HGHDE is a blend of two marques with the first one being the predominant one:

  • OWH (Outram W Hussey) with an ester count of 40-80 gr/hlaa
  • <>H (Diamond H) with an ester count of 900-1000 gr/grhlaa

Quite a jump in digits there. Molasses based, pot still distilled and aged for at least 7 years in Jamaica. Bottled at 59% ABV free of any additions and with a limited number of 3000 bottles.

On the nose is full of tropical fruits. Ripe pineapple, overripe banana, mango and kiwi. Old leather with a dash of acetone. Ripe pears, prunes, sultanas and melon. The funk is not blowing my face away, but it’s definitely there. There’s a slight vinegary sourness as well. Lime zest, cinnamon and nutmeg.

On the palate this feels very balanced and fairly easy to drink… for a 59% ABV Hampden as in. Rotten pineapple, canned plums, overripe pears and sultanas. Some filthy-but-enjoyable flavours are tickling my palate such as balsamic vinegar, mothballs, glue and brasso. Feels “vintage” with damp cardboard, dusty furniture and old leather notes. Cinnamon, ginger, Earl Grey tea, black pepper, and almonds. There’s a floral aroma to it as well. The finish is long with rotten pineapple, glue and vanilla.

As a mentioned, very well balanced, reminds me of Worthy Park in style, but with the obvious Hampden profile. The vanilla on the finish was very surprising for me as there’s quite a bit of it. Beautiful rum and at £90 a bottle when it was released I can see why it flew off the shelves.

Hampden Great House Distillery Edition score:
Flavour/taste: 58/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 88/100


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