Brand: Hampden Estate
Origin: Hampden Estate, Wakefield, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica
Age: 11 years
As noted in review #020, Hampden Estate has been around since 1753, but only started releasing their rums under their own brand starting in 2018. The owners– the Hussey family– purchased the estate in 2009 from the Jamaican government, and, as evident by the Hampden-branded releases, changed up the long-held position of purely distilling and selling bulk, unaged rum. That is, there was no aging or blending on-site.
Doing the math, in order to achieve an 8 year age statement on a rum released in 2018, Hampden would have had to start aging rum around 2010.That leads us to Hampden Estate 2010 LROK. This release is marketed as one that contains some of the oldest rums aged entirely at the distillery.
As the name implies, this rum is produced in the Light Rum Owen Kelly, or "LROK", marque; first produced in 1952, this marque contains esters ranging between 200 and 400 g/hLAA. After fermentation and then distillation through Hampden's double retort pot stills, this rum was placed in casks– undisclosed, but likely ex-Bourbon– and aged at origin in its entirety. 11 years later, in 2021, this rum was bottled at a strength of 47% ABV.
Orange-gold, medium clarity, medium viscosity
Grilled pineapple, fermenting grapes, star anise, orange marmalade, peach ring candies, marzipan, new American oak
Grilled peaches, clear Lifesaver candies, ripe pineapple, ripe bananas, toasted pecans, brown sugar
Medium-long, fruity, oaky, warm; pineapple, banana, sherry-seasoned oak, red grapes, cherry cough drops
This is a beautiful rum that truly shows the elegance of Hampden Estate. Having previously sampled the LROK marque, I can tell that the oak aging has evolved the fruity notes as the years went by, creating a mature rum that still contains some delicious elements of the tropics while sporting some wonderful gifts of nuts and spice.
The rum is orange-gold with medium clarity and viscosity.
Grilled pineapple leads the nose is followed by fermenting grapes that remind me of a well-aged cognac. A stinging note of star anise comes in strong, evoking a powerful black licorice note. Citrusy orange marmalade brings a sweet note, leading to bright peach ring candies, and rounding out to nutty marzipan. New American oak rounds out the nose with some woody notes.
On the palate, grilled peaches break through with force, followed by pineapple-like clear Lifesaver candies. Ripe pineapple is bright and tangy, with banana coming up right away. Some nutty notes come back with toasted pecans, like those coming from a salty mixed nut tin. Brown sugar brings some additional sweet and savory deep notes.
2010 LROK's finish is medium-long, fruity, oaky, and warm. It features pineapple, banana, oak that had aged sherry, deep red grapes, and bitter cherry cough drops.
The mature elements of this dram are wonderful, and demonstrate how aging can positively impact a funky rum, and it demonstrates it so well. It's nice that Hampden decided to release some of their eldest stocks, and focus on one of their special marques at that. I look forward to future releases of single marque, single vintage releases from Hampden– especially if they are as good as this one.