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  • Writer's pictureStuart Pearce

Hampden HGML - Wow

Another Hampden tasting. This time just two rums - but don't let that fool you. Two absolute smashers. I'm allowing plenty of time for this review.

Following my previous Hampden review - focussing on the Mark <H>, today I'm tasting another revered mark ... HGML. One step up on the funk-ometer!!

Rums from this distillery, of this specific mark, are incredibly rare and highly sought after.

Hampden's marks again. The number being the ester level per hectoliter of pure alcohol.

20ml of each, 30 mins to open up. The smell even out on my campsite is incredible. Nosed first, the tasted, in abv order. Assisted today by the spectacular Nina Simone.

HV on the left, RA on the right

Habitation Velier 2010 HGML, 62%

As always with these incredible HV bottlings, we're treated to a tonne of rich information on the label. In this case, the rum has been aged for 9 years at Hampden estate in Jamaica. Resulting in a daunting angel's share (loss) of over 64%.

Bottled in 2019 with an ester level of 769 gr/hlpa.

Eyes: Noticeable darker than the much older RA, a clear reflection of the different conditions they were aged in (tropical / continental).

A really stunning golden colour. Thick and unctuous.

Nose: One of the most exciting noses on any rum! Ever! Massive. Rich tropical overripe banana. Lashings of sweet vinegar. Airfix glue. Acetone. Sweet caramel. Spicy vanilla oak. All balanced to perfection. A little ginger. So much beautiful over ripe fruit. Cherries, toasted pineapple. Honey. Custard. Pastry. Wow wow wow. It's really incredible. A party in a glass. A banana and caramel pie with marzipan and balsamic vinegar cream. Wonderful.

Mouth: It delivers everything the nose promised and more. The Hampden signature vinegar is balanced to perfection. Glorious mouthfeel. No gaps. No bad notes. A long long taste. Cherry, banana, mango, balsamic vinegar, spicy custard. Coats your mouth and goes on forever. Top five all time rum. [94pts]

Rum Artisanal HD 1989, 67.6%

Hampden HGML - the same but different! Aged for over 30 years -majority in cooler continental conditions. A single cask bottled at a punchy 67.6%

Eyes: Lighter gold, marginally less thick. Still beautiful.

Nose: That'll clear the sinuses! Lovely estery goodness. Mangos. Acetone. Bananas. Not as creamy, fruity or as sweet smelling as the HV. A little more funky and slightly more firey. Drier, spicier and more bitter. Very good indeed.

Mouth: A big spicy monster. Waves of different flavours assault your pallet. A tease of sweetness, then a punch of spice, a tickle of ripe banana & mango quickly followed by a slap of estery, vinegary sharpness. As close as rum drinking comes to being tango'd. Lovely warm spicy finish [92pts]

Stunning rums. What an amazing experience. Try either. If you can afford the massive auction prices - buy both! Expensive, but a little goes a long way.

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