Review: Hampden Estate 8 Year Old 46% ABV

Hampden Estate produces one of the most flavoursome rums in the world and anyone that tasted their DOK marque at full strength can definitely vouch for that. The estate is located in the Trewalny Parish, Jamaica and it has been there since 1753.

This bottling is the new formula for the previous Hampden Estate 46% ABV which I reviewed here – the reason I mention the ABV is because there is also a 60% ABV version for more hardcore rumheads. The production process is roughly the same as the previous blend, using techniques unchanged since the 18th century like long wild fermentation and the use of dunder (sour mash for rum). The fermentation room and the fermenters are also unchanged for over 2 centuries, forming a literal micro-habitat of bacteria that contribute to the final funky flavour of the distillate and its current consistent profile.

I can’t find much information about the new blend make-up besides a link to Spirit Academy (Italy) where it states in the title that it’s an OWH (Outram W. Hussey) marque which contains 40-80 gr/hL AA – quite mild for Hampden, but a lot of flavour compared with spirits in general.

Later edit: it’s definitely just the OWH marque in the blend!

Molasses based, fermented for an extended amount of time in open vats, pot still distilled and aged for 8 years in ex-Bourbon casks in the tropical climate of Jamaica. Bottled at 46% ABV without any additions.

On the nose feels pretty easy going and tropical. Vanilla pods, Tic Tacs, English Breakfast tea, guava and furniture polish. Cloves, ripe pineapple, pears and cardamom. It smells minty and tropical. Old furniture and tobacco with hints of wassabi and nail varnish.

On the palate seems more spicy. Charred oak, cocoa nibs, After Eight, Haribo gummy bears and peat smoke. Pineapple juice, cinnamon and English Breakfast tea. Just to clarify the tasting notes, this rum isn’t that sweet or even sweetened, it’s just the perceived flavours. Nutmeg, ginger, black pepper and lemon zest layers. The finish is long with vanilla and fresh pineapple.

It’s quite bright and spicy, especially compared with the older version which was more on the “rotten fruit” kind of side. I’ll have to say, I find the old one slightly better, had that very distinctive Hampden profile, whereas this one doesn’t spell Hampden straight away, although the flavour is still recognisable. Still a great dram and a good representation of what Jamaican rum is and can be.

It can be found for £56 and if you’re looking to explore rums from Jamaica this is one of the main guys you need to have in your cabinet. A bit more in-your-face than the more famous Appleton, but that’s its beauty!

Hampden Estate 8 Year Old 46% ABV score:
Flavour/taste: 57/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 86/100


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