Hampden is a Jamaican rum distillery, and apart from profiting from the rum renaissance that’s been happening ever since whisky got so ridiculously expensive, they’ve been producing quality hooch for years.
What’s more interesting from a geek’s perspective is that they also produce a limited distillate called “Light Rum Owen Kelly”. But what does this mean, I hear you asking…
Well, that bit of information is a bit harder to come by. Practically all websites state that this is a low-ester rum. While I initially read somewhere this is a high ester rum, and therefore fruity, some research indicates that this is actually rather low giving more room to fruity notes instead of the more funky notes often found in rum. This is achieved by a difference in the distilling process and/or fermentation.
However, why this is, how this is and exact numbers are harder to come by. There’s a lot of information on this website, though. I might have to dive deeper into this, though, to reach a higher level of understanding what the actual fuck I’m on about.
Having said that, the initial thing to go by is taste. And to do that properly I didn’t only get the LROK bottling, but also a regular one for comparison.
Hampden 8yo, 46%
Lots of sugar cane, the green kind. Also molasses. A dry and spicy mix of oak, slightly acidic with resin and some over- and underripe fruits. Green banana with sweet mango.
Oak and molasses, with the dry, green hint of sugarcane and reed. Quite strong for the abv, some red chili pepper. Astringent and fruity at the same time.
The finish mellows, but does bring done more chilis. Dry oak, dry cane, sweet molasses with burnt sugary caramel. Green banana too.
Rather good, but not a very deep and conforting rum. More challenging than comforting, so to say.
Hampden 2010-2021 LROK, 47%
Very different than the regular one, a lot more chemical. Chemicals like cleaning agent, but also lemon, lime, grapefruit. Strange, but very interesting.
Again light, but with an interesting hint of white chocolate and lemon. Grapefruit pith, lemon seeds but also some sweeter orange. Oak, sugarcane and grass too.
The finish brings a whiff of charcoal, and stays with the lemons and oranges. Quite a long finish.
It’s very different and a lot more interesting than the regular Hampden. Or any other rum I’ve tried over the last few years, actually. It doesn’t make it the best thing, but interesting nonetheless.
Both rums are available from Passie voor Whisky