Brand: Hampden Estate, Great House series

Origin: Hampden Estate, Wakefield, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica

Still: Pot

Age: NAS

Finish: ex-Bourbon

ABV: 59%

Fewer annual releases are as sought-after as Hampden's Great House. Every year, the team from Trelawny Parish blends various marques of the estate's rum stock together to form a unique and one-of-a-kind blend.

The blend is named and released in tribute to the colonial-style mansion that was built on the estate in 1779, after the distillery had been established around 1753 by the Stirling family. For over a century, the ground floor of the mansion was used as a rum storage hold, until the early 1900s. Today, the Great House is used as the visitor's center for those lucky enough to traverse the grounds of the estate.

The first release of the Great House series was in 2019, after being created by then-Hampden master blender Vivian Wisdom, and was only available at the distillery, or in limited quantities throughout Europe. The next 2020 release saw wider distribution, with limited quantites available globally.

Hampden Great House 2020 was my first foray into this blend series, and was a worldwide hit, if social media/forum posts were any indication. The 2020 blend is composed of 2 marques, each distilled through Hampden's copper pot stills: 80% OWH ("Outrem W. Husey") aged for 7 years, and 20% <>H ("[diamond] H", also seen as "💎H") aged for 3 years. According to the 2020 tech sheet, OWH is the "classic light Hampden formula"– clocking in at an ester range of 40-80 g/hLAA, while <>H is "an iconic mark of the distillery", with a much higher range of 900-1000 g/hLAA.

This edition was bottled by Velier at a strength of 59% ABV, and presumably had a higher bottle yield than 2019, with an estimated 5,800 bottles available worldwide.


Brown with an orange tinge, medium clarity, low viscosity


Juicyfruit gum, raspberries, cherry cordial, rotting bananas and pineapples, permanent marker


Bananas, overripe pineapple, raspberries, lemon zest, sour green grapes, light molasses, honey


Long, warming, juicy, tannic; rotting tropical fruit funk, oak, sour grapes

Rating: 10/10


Holy smokes, you will not find a more compelling example of the power of Hampden distillate (or their master blender's abilities) than Great House 2020. Right off the bat you're greeted with a light funk and molasses on the palate, before being sent on a rollercoaster of funky fruit. Everything about the experience from the nose, through the palate, to the finish is incredibly complex, yet well-balanced, and endlessly enjoyable.

In my glass, the rum is brown with an orange tinge, featuring medium clarity and low viscosity.

The nose offers notes of Juicyfruit gum, raspberries, cherry cordial chocolates, rotting bananas and pineapples, and permanent marker. 2020's nose has a bit going on, but mostly stays on the fruity side, while offering some industrial permanent marker funk, and the easily-identifiable Juicyfruit aroma. Despite being 59% ABV, the nose is not overwhelming at all, and telegraphs the balanced nature of the rum.

Great House 2020's palate offers banana, overripe pineapple, raspberries, lemon zest, sour green grapes, a tough of light molasses, and honey. An absolutely incredible crop of flavors in this bottle; everything you'd expect from Hampden is in here, and it's turned up to 11. The flavors are all fairly distinct, and balanced perfectly throughout the palate, leading into the finish with grace.

The finish is long, warming, juicy, and tannic; rotting tropical fruit like bananas, mangos, pineapples, and some coconut join plenty of bourbon-soaked oak and sour grapes after sipping. Balanced as balanced can be, the finish expertly touches on different aspects of the nose and palate, eventually leaving funky fruits as a parting note to encourage enjoyers to take another sip.

This is a semi-rare 10 out of 10 for me. This was my first Great House rum, and will stand as the most ideal and perfect Hampden release that I have ever tried. The individual notes, the composition, and the presentation all work together perfectly, and sets the standard for what I expect Hampden's Great House releases to achieve.

Further Reading