Still very much a festival within festival, one could spend a whole day at the Velier stand, which is pretty much what happened. In contrast to the big boys [blog], we start in unadulterated 100% pot still territory, no doubt flying high all the way.
Arguably the ‘Springbank of rum’, Hampden is one of the oldest rum distilleries, yet the estate has only recently begun bottling their own rum. Whilst others may disagree, I read that this is a watered-down version of the overproof presentation that follows. As for the age, rumcorner says ‘Front label says 8 years. Back label says 7 years. The LM&V website says 7 years. That’s a 2-1 decision for 7 years, so I’ll stick to that’.
- N: Lighter & slightly sweeter than the overproof expression and incredibly approachable.
- T: There’s a lovely softness to this without any loss of essence, only a slightly diminished mouthfeel.
- F: Shorter finish on a soft vegetal squidgyness.
I’ll come back to this. Let’s see if the overproof abv pays off.
- N: After those crazy Long Pond’s [report to follow], this is a far easier, more familiar, subtly savoury-sweet & moorish number with a tempered vegetal funk. At 60% it doesn’t bite at all.
- T: Strong, waxy vegetal distillate.
- F: Cherry cake filling with aniseed drops, but that could be those Long Ponds talking.
- C: Fairly candid, authentic expression – Hampden all over.
Scores 84 points
Back to the ‘weaker’ version now:
Hampden Pure Single Jamaican Rum  7-8yo Ob./[Velier] 46% – TAKE 2
- N: The nose is right up there whilst being incredibly approachable in the best way possible and with firm grapey vegetal dunder action.
- T: There’s a lovely softness to this without any loss of essence. Perfectly straight ahead otherwise.
- F: 7-8 years of ageing has brought a soft vegetal squidge.
- C: Trelawny is a name to remember. I initially had this down at 82/83, but what a difference an hour makes!
Scores 88 points
Hampden 2011/2018 7yo Ob./Velier LFCH 60.5%
- N&T: More of that now-familiar funkiness with wax capacitor action and a potential distillery-recognisable vegetal core.
- F&C: Whether you like this or not is neither here nor there. I find it hard going at times but there’s no denying that it personifies the essence of sugar cane.
Scores 89 points
Worthy Park 2007/2017 10yo Ob./Velier WPL 59%
The overproof & 46% version Hampden’s are officially, official bottlings and not Velier partnerships. ‘Worthy Park Light’ has the lowest congeners and is officially a WP/Velier partnership bottling.
- N: Sweet lamb, vanilla sponge, sweet putty, liquorice, oily garage floors and lots of excellent stuff besides.
- T: Further colourful & chatty action yet also [almond-sweet] light. Likes a little water too.
- F: Sweet fusty putty, so whisky-like until the end with peppery confectionary & an aniseed/liquorice finish. Soft witch hazel at the death.
- C: A super finisher.
Scores 88 points
With special thanks [once again], to Andrea for his imparting knowledge.