Brand: Hampden Estate, Great House series
Origin: Hampden Estate, Wakefield, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica
After a fun Great House Week back in November, we return to one of my favorite annual releases. Hampden Estate once again crafted a unique blend of rums to release as their Great House expression for 2022.
This year, the team in charge of the blend chose a mix of lower and higher ester marques. Great House 2022 consists 73.5% of HGML rum that was distilled in 2019 and aged ~3 years, and 26.5% of LFCH that was distilled in 2011 and aged ~11 years. This was bottled at a strength of 55% ABV.
The HGML is a higher ester marque, containing a range of esters in the range of 1100-1200 g/hLAA, while LFCH is the lighter marque, with esters ranging from 85-120 g/hLAA.
Without further ado, let's crack this open and see what 2022 has in store for us.
Gold, medium-high clarity, medium viscosity
Blueberry Pop-Tart, sour green apples, grilled pinapples, fresh-cut plums, plain cream cheese, red wine vinegar
Blueberry Pop-Tart, strawberries, grilled pineapple, starfruit, other rotting tropical fruits, oak
Long, warming, dry, slightly fruity, bitter; oak, medium-roasted coffee beans, pastry dough, pineapple rind
Great House 2022 is a worthy successor to the prior installments in this series. The intrigue that surrounds this annual release is well-founded, as this may be the best expression yet.
The rum is gold in my glencairn, with medium-high clarity and medium viscosity.
On the nose, I am greeted with a blueberry Pop-Tart note– that is, some savory, crumbly pastry flake with a fruity blueberry filling. Sour green apples, grilled pineapples, and fresh-cut plums join the bouquet to round out the fruity notes we expect from most Jamaican rums nowadays. There is a lingering note in the background that I associate with a plain cream cheese, or perhaps a Greek yogurt; it's similar to dairy, but also has a slight funky quality to it. Red wine vinegar is the last aroma I can pick out from this lovely nose.
Great House 2022 again offers an initial flavor of blueberry Pop-Tart on the initial sip, with other fruits like strawberries, grilled pineapple, and star fruit being noticeable as the palate progresses. Continuing on, I get a cornucopia of indiscernable rotting, funky fruit notes that blend in with the tannins of oak. A really great, powerful, and funky palate, although it is a bit of a short palate, requiring a few sips and some concentration to get the full story.
The finish is long, warming, dry, slightly fruity, and bitter. The oak prevails into the finish from the back palate, and introduces a handful of bitter medium-roasted coffee beans to the experience, followed by a touch of the pastry dough from the aforementioned Pop-Tart notes, and finishing with a pineapple rind.
Though the finish can be a bit bitter and the palate a tad short, Great House 2022 is a real treat and continues in the trend of escalating the constituent marques with great effect (one may wonder if eventually Great House 2030 will be a pure DOK release). This big, bold Jamaican rum lives up to its pedigree, and certainly deserves a place on your bar if you have the ability to procure a bottle.