Brand: Hampden Estate
Origin: Hampden Estate, Wakefield, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica (picked by )
Age: 8 years
When enthusiasts talk about overproof Jamaican rums, the conversation typically hovers around unaged, bright, and high-octane bottles like Wray & Nephew, Rum-Bar Overproof, and the new kid on the block: Hampden Estate's Rum Fire. But before Rum Fire came around, Hampden Estate had an aged, overproof expression that helped put the storied distillery on enthusiasts' mind when their first standalone rums hit the market in 2018.
Hampden Estate Overproof was released alongside an 8 year expression as the first self-labeled rums to come from Hampden, as most rum produced throughout their history was sold to blending houses or bulk rum merchants like E&A Scheer. This Overproof expression was aged for 8 years, presumably in ex-Bourbon casks, after being distilled in Hampden's double-retort pot stills.
While the over-proof expression is meant to be a mainstay in the core Hampden lineup, this particular bottle– and this specific blend– is no longer being released. Instead, the new name for the aged overproof expression is "HLCF Classic", named after the singular marque that comprises its blend components: HLCF, or Hampden Light Continental Flavoured. This marque contains esters ranging from 400-600 g/hLAA; the marque(s) that comprised of the blend used in the original Overproof release are not public knowledge, unfortunately.
Brown, medium clarity, medium viscosity
Overripe banana, rotting pineapple, blueberries, Smarties, raspberry turnovers, molasses
Sour grapes, overripe pineapple, nutmeg, cherry, Juicyfruit gum, rye spices, overripe banana, raspberries
Long, drying, slightly bitter, tannic; oak, sour grapes, green apple, pastry dough
Hampden Estate Overproof unleashes the power and funk of the storied distillery. The spices are amplified in the palate and finish, while the aromas are quintessentially Jamaican. It's a shame that this particular blend is gone for good (for now), because it is such an enjoyable, fun rum.
In the glass, Hampden Overproof is brown in color with medium clarity and medium viscosity.
The nose gives notes of overripe banana, rotting pineapple, and blueberries to start. The fruit is overwhelming, requiring a few sniffs to pick out the individual elements. Next, the powdery note of Smarties candies comes through, followed by tart yet savory raspberry turnovers, and molasses.
As far as fruity elements go, Hampden Overproof's palate offers sour grapes, overripe pineapple, cherry, Juicyfruit gum, overripe banan, and raspberries. There are also a number of spices I would commonly find in rye, as well as nutmeg. This is a very explosive group of flavors, and can be a little overwhelming, but definitely not skimping on complexity.
Hampden Overproof's finish is long, drying, slightly bitter, and tannic. Oak, sour grapes, green apple, and pastry dough come through at the waning ends of each sip.
I'll definitely be savoring the remaining amount of Hampden Overproof that I've got in my bottle, as this is an exceptional, high proof, and flavor-packed rum. Knowing that this blend is no longer the same used for the overproof expression definitely will give me pause before using this in cocktails, though I won't exactly be complaining. This bottle isn't exactly on the cheap side, and offers a ton of complexity that deserves to be savored on its own.