Brand: Hampden Estate, 8 Marks series

Origin: Hampden Estate, Wakefield, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica

Still: Pot

Age: Unaged

Finish: n/a

ABV: 60%

Up to this point in the Hampden 8 Marks Collection, the marque names have been pretty readable and self-explanatory (names of distillers or understandable acronyms). <>H– aka "◆H" or "💎H"– is here to break up that trend, being pronounced as "diamond-H"; why is a diamond used, and what does it mean? Well, we may never know.

As mentioned in the infosheet provided in the 8 Marks box, marques were often named for distillers or other important people at the distillery, or for characteristics of the rum itself. In some cases, the reasoning may be lost to time, as those who were privy to the information left the distillery or passed on. These are among my favorite type of marques– as far as naming goes– as they add to the mystique and esotericism of the rums that bear them.

When crafting a batch of <>H rum, Hampden's experts utilize medium levels of the five ingredients used in fermentation: molasses, cane juice vinegar, dunder, water, and muck. Alcoholic fermentation lasts 3 days, and spends a further week in a dead wash, totalling 10 days, resulting with a wash measuring 2-4% ABV. After distillation in a double retort pot still, the rum reaches a final ABV of 85.5-86.5%.

The following Hampden Estate releases contain the <>H marque: Great House 2020 (20% <>H), Great House 2021 (50% <>H).


Clear, medium viscosity


Rotting blueberries, pineapple, orange peel, green grapes, banana, cream cheese, starfruit, permanent marker, white wine vinegar


Pineapple, banana, blueberries, starfruit, green grapes, mango, honeydew melon


Medium, creamy, fruity; banana, starfruit, papaya, blueberries, fermenting grapes, sweet cream

Rating: 7/10


Well, <>H sure knows how to throw a party. The elements of this marque bring an assault of stinging, sharp funk (maybe that's where the "diamond" comes from?) and fruit that takes some work to decipher by one's senses.

The nose is where it starts, emanating a number of tropical fruits in various stages of rot, while cream cheese comes in during some sniffs. Tasting <>H, the notes are a little more organized, with the expected banana and pineapple joined by blueberries, starfruit, grapes, mango, and honeydew. The finish has a creamy mouthfeel to it, bringing some fruits through from the palate, and ending with a sweet cream sensation.

Although <>H is quite wild and a bit of a mess on the nose (in a good way), it's thoroughly enjoyable throughout the entire experience. This seems like a good checkpoint for the 8 Marks Collection: if someone is tasting this and thinks it's too much, best turn back now; otherwise, keep moving forward and enjoy the adventure. It's only going to get wilder from here.

Further Reading