Brand: Papalin

Origin: Hampden Estate, Wakefield, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica; Worthy Park, Lluidas Vale, Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica

Still: Pot

Age: 7 years

Finish: ex-Bourbon*

ABV: 47%

Luca Gargano and his company Velier once again are the subject of our reviews, as we take a look at the Papalin project– a new take on the tradition of blending rums.

The Velier website says the following about the project:

The basic idea is to blend rums made in a single island and entirely produced and aged at the respective distilleries

In that same article, Gargano discusses how Richard Seale once called Velier a "dependent bottler", because the Italian company works closely with distilleries– rather than exclusively with bulk rum importer/exporters– for their releases. An important distinction is that with this model, the rums being used in a blend or standalone release are fully tropically-aged at the distillery that produced them– which as we've said before, is not a common occurrence in the independent bottling world.

Papalin Jamaica 7 year is a blend of Hampden Estate and Worthy Park rums, each distilled through their respective distilleries' pot stills, and matured at those distilleries for a minimum of 7 years.

The type of cask used to age the rums is not disclosed, but most likely is ex-Bourbon, and similarly, the ratio of Hampden/Worthy Park distillate used to create the blend is a secret known only to Luca Gargano himself, according to the Velier website. However, Must Have Malts lists on their Papalin product page that the blend "is made up of 80% Worthy Park, 10% Hampden HCLF aged in ex-bourbon casks, and 10% Hampden HCLF aged in ex-sherry casks".

In any case, Velier released the rums in their signature "Velier bottle", without any additives, at a strength of 47% ABV; there also exists a 57.18% ABV edition, which I believe is only available in Europe. The lower-proofed bottle we're reviewing today is one of 6,000 bottles of the blend released globally.

I was happy to be able to purchase this here in Memphis, and look forward to diving into the inaugural release of this exciting project.


Gold, high clarity, medium-low viscosity


Rotting bananas, grilled pineapple, permanent marker, honey, oranges, aftershave


Overripe banana, pineapple, vanilla, black pepper, rotting tropical fruits, honeysuckle


Medium, spicy, warming, slightly tannic, fruity; oak, cinnamon, rotting green grapes and banana

Rating: 6/10


This pure pot still blend of Jamaican rums is delicious! Signatures of the Hampden and Worthy Park distillates are able to be picked out, but there's still a nice obfuscation that takes place thanks to the blending of these components. I feel the Worthy Park really leads the nose, while Hampden dominates the mid/late palate and finish.

Papalin 7 year is a nice gold color in my glass, with high clarity and medium-low viscosity.

Its nose offers notes of rotting bananas, grilled pineapple, permanent marker, honey, oranges (almost like an orange curaçao), and aftershave. Some typical tropical fruit notes join with the pungent funk of permanent marker in the expected overture of this Jamaican blend, while a slightly floral honey dances around the edges of the bouquet. After sitting for a few moments, some brandied oranges, similar to curaçao, start to appear, and deep in the late stage of the nosing, some clean aftershave notes arrive.

On the palate, Papalin provides overripe bananas, fresh pineapple, some vanilla, black pepper, rotting tropical fruits, and honeysuckle. The flavors are delightfully funky, as one may expect, while also slightly medicinal and spicy; this is noticeable in other aged Worthy Park offerings like the TCRL Jamaica WP 2013 and Worthy Park 13 year "Gemini Barrel". Hampden's heavy-handed sour/rotting fruit notes come in towards the back palate. Overall, the rum tastes very balanced, and really takes you on a journey as you sip.

The finish is long, spicy, warming, slightly tannic, and fruity. Notes of oak, cinnamon, rotting green grapes and banana are present. The oak is a bit bitter throughout, while the cinnamon provides a lingering spice element; Hampden's signature rotting fruit note provides some roundness to the experience.

Papalin 7 year is a testament to the distilling prowess of its two constituent distilleries, and was blended with care. However, I find the body a bit lacking, even if it is all-around pleasant; it's thinner than I would expect, which could be from the process of proofing the rum down to 47% ABV. The flavors and nose are quite nice, but the finish is also a tad bitter and shorter than some rums from Hampden and Worthy Park provide.

Yet Papalin is a great rum and a fun exercise in returning to some European traditions of rum blending, and it's exciting to see a blend of these rums, equally aged exclusively in the tropics. Papalin Jamaica is certainly worth trying out if you have the chance to do so, and I'm excited to see the future bottlings this project has in store.

Further Reading

*When the type cask used for aging is not specified, we make an educated guess that it is an ex-Bourbon cask as most aged rums utilize this barrel type.