Today’s article is basically the continuation of a review published a few months ago. With great praise and enthusiasm I wrote about the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum here in October 2018 and on top of that used it in a really interesting twist on a Negroni. Today I’m going to do “part 2” of the whole thing, because again a Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum stands in front of me. But this time it is the overproof version. (provided test product)*
For this reason, I will not go into detail concerning production backgrounds, the label and the distillery or bottler again, but instead refer to my article about the “standard bottling” linked above. If you are interested in rum or spirits in general and regularly read about it, you will surely have noticed how much praise the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum has received from various reviews throughout the internet. From my point of view this is absolutely deserved, because especially considering increasing prices in the last years (particularly with Jamaican high ester rums), this rum offers a very good cost-benefit-ratio.
So far, so good. Now the overproof version offers a very promising ABV of 60%, what makes me expect nothing less than a firework of intense aromas. However, of course it is also likely it will show a certain alcoholic “punch”, so some people might like to add a few drops of water. Where and how the differences essentially are, can ultimately only be found out in the tasting.
Aroma: What an aroma! Immediately they are there: intense ester notes full of exotic fruits. Even though I’ve read some reviews about the overproof version which in contrast to the standard one characterized it as having less distinctive fruit notes, I can’t confirm that at all. I find a fruity mango, fully ripe bananas, fermented pineapple and almost the fruity spicy fragrance of a freshly cut Habanero reminiscent of nuances of apricots. “Funky” is a very good word here, because there’s a lot going on in the nose. Over time, herb and spice tones also appear (very fine hints of rosemary, some cinnamon and pimento), as well as candied lemon peel and oak wood. A fabulous nose, really great and complex.
With an alcohol content of 60% vol., some might want to add a few drops of water, this changes the aroma (it’s hardly surprising) considerably towards the 46% Hampden: The fruit potpourri remains, but becomes a bit “lighter” overall. In addition, I now find the scent of coconut blossom sugar, in addition, some rather vegetal tones mix into the overall picture.
Taste: Though there is an ABV of 60% in the glass here, the alcohol is very pleasant. Of course, there is a certain sharpness on the tongue, but it carries an incredible number of taste nuances. Spices, fermented fruits (mango, pineapple) that sometimes almost remind me of matured cheese, but without being unpleasant or pungent. In addition, there are associations of fruity Habanero. In fact, there also some toasted notes reminiscent of grilled fruit, which bring minimal smoke associations with them. Over time, spices crystallize out, especially cloves, pimento and a pinch of cinnamon. The influence of the barrel brings a bit of vanilla.
As expected, the addition of a few drops of water reduces the alcoholic spiciness even further, clearly bringing mango and pineapple even further into the foreground. Habanero, the associations of matured cheese and a part of the spice load disappear, but now I find bananas, green apples and some caramel.
Finish: the finish is very long, warm and surprisingly dry. There are woody tones of unripe fruits with spices.
Well, what can you do with a rum that beautiful behind the bar? Undoubtedly quite a lot! Basically almost “everything”. I can imagine an excellent Rum Old Fashioned (if you want to emphasize the fruit notes, you could also prepare a Fiji Gloaming with the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Overproof Rum – though in that case the name of the drink becomes quite silly and needs to be modified). But also in combination with fortified wines (vermouth, sherry) or bitter liqueurs there are lots of options. But precisely because this rum has such incredible power and expressiveness, I opted for a Tiki Punch. I wanted to put a little emphasis on a seasonal fruit and brought strawberries into the game, because they are far too seldom in cocktail recipes, although you can make fantastic drinks with them. To what extent the strawberry botanically fits into a Polynesian-Caribbean setting can of course be doubted. But in the exaggerated and often silly Tiki genre, that doesn’t really matter. That’s why the name of the cocktail is also a ludicrous one – but that doesn’t apply to the taste, since I’m pretty sure that this drink has what it takes to delight many people. On top of that, the Hampden overproof is really effective and characteristic here, so it’s not simply replaceable by any other rum (as is sometimes the case with Tiki punches). I present: The Almighty Strawberry Goddess of the Seas.
Recipe “Almighty Strawberry Goddess of the Seas”:
4.5 cl Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Overproof Rum
2 cl Rhum J.M 50°
2 cl lime juice
1.5 cl Velvet Falernum
1 bar spoon sugar syrup
1 sprig rosemary
4 fresh strawberries
2 Dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Preparation: First add the strawberries and rosemary sprig to the shaker and muddle vigorously with a bar pestle until the strawberries are crushed and the oils from the rosemary needles come off. Add the remaining ingredients and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Finally strain twice into the pre-cooled glass.
Garnish: rosemary sprig and fresh strawberry
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.