Hampden <H> - The missing last act
Updated: Feb 14
You might remember from last year's Hampden <H> tasting the glaring omission of the legendary Velier 70th anniversary 2010 bottling.
If you would like to refresh you memory on the first 5 rums reviewed please click here.
Today I have the huge pleasure of finally completing this tasting.
As running partners I've selected KD & Samaroli from the previous tasting - as well as the iconic Habitation Velier HGML.
Opened to breath for 20mins. A struggle as I've been wanting to try this for years. Accompanied today by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - perfect sounds for a Sunday morning.
Velier Hampden <H> 2010, 62%, 1659btls
A limited co-bottling released to celebrate Velier's 70th anniversary. Showcasing the specific (and much revered) Hampden mark of <H>. This is a mid-ester mark for Hampden - off the scale for 99% of other distilleries.
A pot stilled, unsweetened, molasses based rum. Aged for 7 years, in ex-bourbon bottles, at the distillery.
Side note - I swapped this bottle for a Foursquare ECS Port cask 3 or 4 years ago. Having paid only £30 for the Foursquare I thought I was getting an absolute bargain. I'm still happy, although the current secondary value of the two bottles suggests it wasn't my wisest swap - let's see in an hour! :-)
Eyes: A beautiful mid-copper gold. Near identical to the slightly older HGML.
Nose: A typical & stunning Hampden. So much going on it's hard to know where to start. Glue, tropical fruit, marzipan, olives in brine, cherries, vanilla, pineapple, vinegar, sweet esters, acetone, honey, pastry. Outstanding.
Lucky I'm in no rush - I could nose this for hours. Richer, deeper, sweeter, warmer and more complex than the Samaroli (which is pretty excellent itself!). Possibly even a better & bigger nose than my beloved HGML! (although it's very close). A real bomb. An explosion of flavour.
7 years doesn't seem much but as this was 100% tropically aged the barrel influence is significant - and I would suggest just right. Maintaining the fruit forward, liveliness whilst adding a beautifully balanced rich, tannic, vanilla oak core.
Mouth: Sweet shoe polish should never be this appetising. Vinegar coated cherries. Mouth covering. A tonne of esters. Summer fruit. Some dark fruit. Rotten bananas. Strawberry sherbet. Nuts, pastry, vanilla. And then the olives in brine. And nail varnish. Absolutely delicious.
Does it live up to the nose.... maybe every so slightly no. It's amazing, but the finish is just slightly lacking. One of the best noses of all Hampden. The finish is beautiful but not quite enough to match the HV HGML or HV C<>H. [92+pts]
Glad I swapped? To drink, absolutely no doubt! And let's face it - rum is meant for drinking!