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  • Writer's pictureStuart Pearce

Hampden Great House 2022 - review

A firmly established and much anticipated date in the rum calendar - release of the new Hampden Great House! 2022 being the 4th rum in this line. All four being blends of different Hampden 'marks' of varying ages.

Fully aged, blended and bottled at the distillery - a co-bottling with Italian uber-bottler Velier. This rum is presented in Velier's distinctive black bottle and has a blue label featuring The Great House (Hampden's beautiful estate home) and matching box.

Hampden rums need little introduction, with their distinctive, high ester profile, this legendary distillery has a unique and wonderful style the result of long fermentation, dunder, copper pot distillation and tropical aging in Jamaica.

As you'd expect, this rum is bottled with no added sugar or additives.

Although I will be tasting this Great House side by side against the last 3 'vintages', I'll avoid the waffle of re-reviewing the last 3. You can find those reviews here - in last year's Hampden Great House review.

As with the previous 3 annual releases, a blend of a long aged, low ester mark and a younger, high ester mark. Hampden Great House 2022 is a limited release rum, predominately available at the distillery, with very limited numbers being released to select stores around the globe.

Hampden Great House 2022 - 55%, 3600 btls

This year the master distiller has chosen a blend of 74%2019 HGML and 26% 2011 LFCH.

So, a 3-year-old mid-ester (for Hampden) mark {HGML}, along with an 11-year-old low ester mark {LFCH}.

HGML is my favourite Hampden mark, so, even with the relatively low aging, I'm very excited for this one.

Notably, the master blender has reversed the proportions this year, so the lion's share of the rum is the younger, higher ester mark. That could make or break this!

As per 2021, the rum is reduced to 55%, rather than 59% of the first two editions.

Eyes: Lightest of the four to date, unsurprising given that the majority is now younger rum. An attractive light straw gold.

Nose: Big, rich and full of sweet esters. The majority HGML element is taking complete control. A significantly sweeter, fruitier profile than it's 3 older sisters, the 2022 is bursting with fresh ripe tropical fruit and old-fashioned sweets: cola cubes and a tang of sherbety, refreshers. Hampden through and through, fermenting pineapple juice, a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Really vibrant and exciting. Possibly not as complex or quite as big as the very best Hampden, but a solid example of the sweeter HGML profile that I'm so partial to.

Mouth: The very start of the taste tricks you into thinking that this is light and potentially even a touch disappointing after the stunning nose. But a fraction of a second later and things begin to build. and build, and build! Pow - your tastebuds are assaulted by smorgasbord of rotten papaya, acetone and vinegar drenched candied mango.

Young Hampden, just as it should be - big esters, lashings of solvent and a big pile of rotten tropical fruit.

Conclusion: A step change in the Great House line that follows the trend of Hampden to put out younger rums. In this case it works pretty well, and the quality has returned after a slightly disappointing release last year. It's a younger Hampden in every way and that won't please everyone, but I really enjoy the bold freshness and vibrance that Hampden can do so well. In the GH line-up, it's significantly above 2021. Almost back to the level of 2020. 2019 remains king by a nose. 2019>2020>2022>>>2021 [88pts]

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