Today I’m grabbing another Hampden, yeah! Because times are tough and I just like a good old glass of pot still goodness. Fight me. The drink-away-your-loneliness rum of today is the Habitation Velier Hampden 2010 LROK, and boy does it get rid of my loneliness.
So this is probably one of my first Jamaican rums I ever bought and it still amazes me to this day. Everything about this bottle just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside. The old time-y pharmacy style of the bottle that must be an absolute b*tch to put on your production line, the beautiful illustration of the double retort pot still, the simplistic yet informative label on the front and back of the bottle, and of course the 67% ABV. After drinking a couple of drams of this high ABV beast you will get a warm and fuzzy feeling regardless. That’s the Hampden guarantee for you.
This is a independent bottling of a Hampden rum, well, kind of independent. Mr. Gargano’s Habitation Velier collaborates very closely with the distilleries who’s rum they sell. In fact, the Habitation Velier brand is basically a distillery bottling, but under a different name. A specific marque of a specific vintage is chosen, the bottles and labels are shipped to the distillery, where bottling also happens. Then the full bottles are shipped back to Europe, ready for distribution. What a wonderful way of doing business. Distilleries get put in the spotlight and they enjoy the company of other highly prestigious and bottlings in the Habitation line. Consumers get the some of the purest rums available from that distillery, and Velier gains even more fans and admirers.
I’d also just like to remind everyone again. Before Hampden started releasing their own in-house brand of rum, you could only get Hampden from independent bottlers and the Habitation Velier bottlings were and still are as good as it gets.
As per usual I’ll run over the specs before we get started on tasting. The rum in this bottle has been distilled back in 2010 and has aged for 6 years, with a total angel share of over 40%. It’s 100% discontinued double retort pot still rum. The rum contains 375gr/laa of esters, which makes it fall in the LROK (Light Rum Owen Kelly) marque, and it’s bottled at an absolutely amazing 67% ABV.
Orange, slightly golden-brown. At only 6 years of aging, this looks like a very mature rum. This just shows how intense tropical aging can be.
On the nose this rum is quite deep and compares more towards the in-house (also high in ABV) hampden overproof. Firstly I get raisins that spent a couple of days soaking in rum. Some Vanilla and a banana pie also come to mind. My nose does get tickly thanks to the high ABV, and the tiniest bit of alcoholic smells peep through. After a while the lighter Jamaican staples come back up. The pineapple and funky banana come through a bit, but overall I get a deeper darker note from this one.
Oh yeah, the alcohol is noticeable, though not disruptive. The alcohol gives a more fiery feeling that reminds me of BBQ chicken with some incredible spicy hot sauce. That warm fuzzy feeling overtakes me and I break a little joyous sweat.
After a couple of sips the dark and deep notes that were previously prevalent in the nose and the first sips open up towards lighter and fruitier notes. The classic fruits of Jamaican rum are present, but they were also but on the same BBQ as that delicious chicken. Yeah, the fruits are here, but the high alcohol gives them another dimension that’s weirdly pleasing. Especially if you’re used to those high and light flavours, this gives a nice deep alternative.
The finish is long! No surprises there. After some time the roasted fruity notes give way to more oak-y notes and a bit of chocolate sprinkled banana.
The finish is definitely pleasant, so pleasant in fact that I would consider not eating or drinking anything for the rest of the day, just so the flavour stays in my mouth for the remainder of it.
Overall, this is a great rum. Pure, unadulterated, honest and deep. For Hampden it’s a low ester rum and it’s noticeable, the high fruity notes and the kick-in-your-face high ester count aren’t present. Instead, habitation Velier chose a lower ester count with more warmth and dark notes. They switched the face kicking from ester count to ABV and they did a very good job doing so, giving a hot sauce-like feeling to this purely Jamaican rum