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  • Writer's pictureStuart Pearce

Rum Fire Review

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Time for some fire :-)

A quick comparison of two high ester overproof Jamaican rums. These unaged beasts hail from Hampden, the legendary distillery renowned for it's bold, full flavoured rums.

Created as Hampden's alternative to the Jamaican market leader, not just for unaged rums but for all rum drunk on the island - THE Wray & Nephew Overproof.

Rum fire has a considerably higher ester count, so is definitely offering something a little different. In relative terms to Hampden's range of rums these are designated as the 'mark' HLCF - upper mid way up Hampden's scale, pretty much off the end of any other scale!

Hampden create their high ester flavour bombs through extended fermentation, addition of dunder and the use of pot stills. The very highest Hampden 'marks' are generally considered as additions for rum flavour in a range of foods and other products, only the most ardent rum enthusiasts choose to drink these extreme offerings. Hence rum fire, at Hampden's upper mid ester level, unaged and overproof, brings to the mass market something that's new, wild and unique.

The 'velvet' version was originally the only bottling available to the UK and some other export markets, however the original Rum Fire has recently started popping up here too. Molasses based monsters. Today I'm going to approach these (with caution) both neat and in a daiquiri. Let's get stuck in...

Crystal clear in the glass, as you would expect. 15ml left to breath for 30 mins, nosed first then tasted. And in a daiquiri today too :-) [Daiq - 4:2:1 Fire, Lime, Syrup shaken over lots of ice]

Rum Fire overproof - 63%, £43

Daiquiri: Definitely a dirty daiquiri. Lots of bold rotten flavour. The vinegar edge comes through strongly. A lingering ester flavour. It's really big. Interesting but maybe not that enjoyable as a daiquiri on its own. I'd be interested to blend a little in with another rum.

Nose: an absolute beast. Petrol, rotten fruit, fire, ester, varnish. Exciting. Big sweet vinegar edge. Let's be completely frank here - most people will hate this. If you want to try something completely off the rails, dive in - cautiously! A beautiful monster.

Mouth: Hahaha [laughs maniacally] I love it. It's horrible, and I love it. A confusing rum! Piles and piles of rotten tropical fruit. Pushes you with some cringe worthy rotten flavours but there's a delicate deliciousness that leaves you wanting more. Really, really interesting, complex well made rum. [84pts]

Rum Fire 'velvet' - 63%, £35

Daiquiri: Slightly easier and more approachable. Rotten pineapple. Moorish. Good balance. Works better. An ok daiquiri.

Nose: another monster. Lots of fire and bold flavour but somehow lacking the liveliness of the standard bottling. Less fruit. Less zip.

Mouth: Slightly flat. A bitter side. Has all the fire and bold flavour but lacks the finesse and complexity that I'm after. All punch and no kiss. [78pts]

In conclusion, if you're really into rum and want to play with something very different, something that bites back, definitely grab a bottle of rum fire overproof. It's a bargain. A little goes a long way and I look forward to mixing it into cocktails. Don't bother with the velvet version...

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