It has been a little more than two weeks since I wrote about the Veritas White Blended Rum from Habitation Velier. In the course of this article, I dealt with the common but more or less hidden practice of maturing white rums and finally was able to convince myself of the “truth” of the Veritas rum. In addition, anyone who has read the article will know that I was really enthusiastic about this rum. Now, my expectations are very high again, because the bottle I have in front of me today also comes from the Hampden Distillery. (provided test product)*
Accordingly, the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum offers a real promise of quality. The Hampden Distillery enjoys a truly excellent reputation as a producer of Jamaican rums, and this reputation wants of course to be confirmed when bottling rums like this. The name of the bottle might seem a bit strange, because here you might feel more than just a little bit reminded of Scotch single malt whisky. However, there is not such a clear framework for declaration as it exists with Scotch whisky in the rum market, even though the Italian bottlers from Habitation Velier also call themselves the “House of Pure Single Rums”. And even if the term is not really legally protected, the idea is a comparable one and for the consumer also quite transparent and welcome: The molasses used for the production comes from sugar cane, which has been grown on the distillery’s own plantations. This is anything but taken for granted, since a large part of the molasses used for worldwide rum production is imported by the respective distilleries. Therefore, the whole thing even goes beyond the single malt definition of Scotland’s whisky, because in Scotland distilleries also import barley on a large scale, but without jeopardising their status as single malt producers (which only presupposes that their whisky has been produced exclusively from malted barley in one and the same distillery).
The Franco-Italian importer of today’s bottle, La Maison & Velier (LM&V), supplies us with a lot of information about the rum that goes beyond this “single rum” background. The front label is therefore covered with details and info boxes.
First, we are confronted with the phrase “The High Esters Art”. Basically this only indicates that we can expect a good portion of ester aromas here, as they are so typical and well known for Jamaican rums (see also my article about the Plantation Xaymaca). So the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum is fully committed to the authentic Jamaican style. Below it, you can find the note “Fully Matured in the Tropics“. For newcomers to the rum segment, this is certainly an interesting and worth knowing fact: Due to the different climatic conditions, barrel-maturation in tropical regions is much more “intensive”. An 8-year maturation thus corresponds to a significantly longer maturation process in a country outside the tropics (e.g. Scotland). The information box in the middle is entitled “Trelawny Endemic Rum“: Trelawny is a district (called Parish in Jamaica) in the northwest of the Caribbean island state. We are informed here about the peculiarity of the terroir and also about the fact that the sugar cane for this rum comes from a region inhabited by many bird species, butterflies and crocodiles which is called Cockpit Valley within the Trelawny Parish. The special know-how in harvesting and processing sugar cane (savoir faire), in combination with the regional characteristics, guarantees the inimitability of this rum. Well, here, of course, interesting information is mixed with a good portion of marketing talk. However, I rather enjoy that a bit, as long as it is well done and not obtrusive – and that is definitely not the case here.
Furthermore, there are hints about the fermentation of molasses with local yeasts, the exclusive distillation on pot stills, the use of natural spring water and the renunciation of artificial coloring for the rum. This all sounds very nice and promising. Finally, it was bottled with an ABV of 46%, which is also very impressive. So how does the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum perform neat?
Aroma: “Wow!” – that’s the first thing that comes to mind here! The Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum is an intense aromatic revelation that starts to burst your sensory perception. The full load of ester tones brings many ripe and fermented fruits with it: green bananas, apples, lightly fermented pineapple with very pronounced, flowery notes and also vegetal notes. I also find coconut sugar, associations of nuts, liquorice and oak. That’s a promising first impression!
Taste: This rum also keeps its promise on the palate. The fruity notes initially dominate, especially pineapple and banana stand out. A clearly perceptible spice charge is brought in from the oak barrel, which combines beautifully with the exotic sweetness of coconut and some caramel. Cashew nuts, greenish-woody background tones (reminiscent of olives) and a hint of liquorice introduce the finish.
Finish: very long and intense with citrus notes, dry and spicy.
What can you do with such an aroma bomb in a cocktail? A whole lot, of course! If you find a cocktail recipe that calls for a Jamaican rum, you can’t do anything wrong here. But you should keep in mind that the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum might break more ground than e.g. a 12-year-old Appleton can. In this respect, you have to take into account the more intensive characteristics of this rum.
However, I went a completely different way and wanted to try a variation of my beloved Negroni. Especially the ester notes in this rum promise to offer a unique taste experience. Of course, this would also work in a simple rum Negroni, where you simply replace the gin with rum, but I wanted to do just a little bit more variation. So I infused some Campari with freshly cut banana for 24 hours and finally added a nuance of Black Walnut Bitters, which set a very nice counterpoint. This works really well in combination with the other ingredients. The Trelawny Negroni is ready.
Recipe “Trelawny Negroni”:
3.5 cl Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum
2 cl Campari infused with fresh banana (see below)
1.5 cl Carpano Antica Formula
1 Dash Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
Campari infused with fresh banana: Simply add half a sliced banana to 250 ml of Campari and infuse for 24 hours. Then remove the banana slices and filter out floating parts through a filter cloth or a Japanese tea strainer.
Preparation: The drink is built in the glass. Simply put all the ingredients on fresh ice cubes, stir and you’re done.
Garnish: dried “banana chips”
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.