There are few old Hampden, we know the mythical Hampden 1992/1993 from Samaroli or Silver Seal and another 1990 from Berry & Bross, but it is difficult to find traces of bottlings of this venerable house before those dates …
However, since a few weeks, several vintages 1983 appears… A broker would have decided to “let go” his 5 casks to different customers like Kill Devil or Rum Artesanal among others.
And one of these fell into the hands of Corman Collins / The Auld Alliance, which jointly bottled it in June 2019.
Holding 55.3%, this rum would actually be a blend of two vintages (1982/1983) that was aged in the same barrel for 35 years in Europe… Information confirmed by the broker.
All in a very sober bottle, with label printed on Japanese paper and waxed … class I would say.
Several sources seem to indicate that 1983 would be a HGML year at Hampden … I do not know if at the time they really cared about this kind of details, but actually the aura of the last Habitation Velier will still be a little hovering above this tasting.
Old gold, the liquid is really oily…amazing
Hampden, clearly it is very difficult to be wrong … Whether it’s a 35 year old juice, 16 year old continental or even 10 year old tropical, we really stay in the same trip.
There is directly olive, a kind of “fishy”, it is iodized, saline, pickled. An aspect very “anchovy / olive tapenade” in fact …
But behind this aspect that may seem not appetizing, it remains a Hampden at the same time, the exotic fruits are not left with roasted pineapple, banana, lime and grany apple that adds a touch of acidity to the whole.
The solvent, bourbon vanilla, a floral tip and a rather mineral aspect are the last things that come to mind with this nose very decidedly expressive after 35 years locked in his barrel.
Strangely, only small traces of wood … In general, I find that tannins never get the upper hand on these Jamaican rums.
The alcohol is at no time disturbing, the whole is very well balanced and melted … creamy I would say, even more than in the HGML Habitation Velier I find.
Sweet, oily and creamy, it’s really “velvet” this Hampden from the top of its 55% … incredible.
It is hyper “gourmand”, pastry and fruity with a light banana and this huge pineapple found in the nose.
Lemon adds an acid side to the whole thing that will really make me think of acidulous sweets, as can be found on a Savanna HERR example … Strawberry tagada, but much more polished and refined than the latter.
The olives are still present and a big smoke in retro olfaction, kind of trademark of the venerable Jamaican home.
The final is monstrous and this rum chews literally for very long minutes …
545 € for 70 cl … yes, it’s less funny this but hey, we are not in 2013 🙁
Pwa, what an experience … I’m not the biggest fan of High Esters rum, but “je lui trouve une charme fou” as Hoshi would say.
Because yes, I really think that Hampden must be high enough in terms of esters.
We are really on a tangy profile, generous, pastry but with a balance and a rather crazy elegance … 35 years of rest will have helped I think, because usually, this kind of hyper exuberant rum, I like but 2 cl are enough .
Here I can sipping it just for fun … .with this High Esters, the word pleasure is present, which is really not always the case with all these kinds of juice!
Limit “daily dram” in fact because of a great accessibility while being of a rather impressive complexity. So, I am very curious to taste its brothers ….
It makes me really think of the last HGML Velier but more mature, wise I would say … I know, tropical stuff etc but that we don’t care, it’s top, point.
To conclude, I think this rum is the perfect example to illustrate the most important point for the maturation of a spirit …. TIME.
Whether it’s happening in Scotland, Jamaica, Portugal or in my cellar, nothing beats the time to polish, smooth and complexify a spirit …
So it’s going to make some noise, but I don’t think we can say that 4 years in the tropics are worth 20 in Scotland for example.
For the angel share, clearly but not for the maturation and the complexification … Nothing worth than time.