Jamaican Pure Single Rum – Hampden 2010 HLCF 68.5%

At the 2016 Whisky Live Singapore one of the most interesting Master Class was the “Velier Master Class: Pure Single…” with Luca Gargano and Dave Broom, putting pure single rum head-to-head with single malts.

After experiencing the Hampden 2010, I was dying to share the unique experience with our Whisky Ladies! Luca was kind enough to indulge my wish and this bottle came back to Bombay with his compliments.

We sampled it completely blind, with no hint of what it was, coming after our “contributors choice” evening with Old Pulteney 21 year, Benromach 100° Proof and Bowmore Black Rock.


Hampden 2010 HLCF 68.5%

  • Nose – Mustard, licorice, varnish, egg nog, butterscotch, sweet maple, fig, nutmeg, milk then cheese, berries shifting into ripe grapes, over-ripe apples just before turning rotten, the South African cream liquor Amarula, fruit & cream, nuts, shifting into ripe tropical fruits, sweet toffee banana, some cinnamon spice, pear drops, a bit of balsam wood sap
  • Palate – Very unexpected… a complete flavour explosion. Spicy, buttery, oily… lots of warm heat, toffee, lemon candy
  • Finish – Strong, heavy, more of the Amarula cream
  • Water – Smooths it out, all the wonderful flavours are still there but now more accessible and not so overpowering

The overall verdict was “Wow!” It was clear there was something distinctive, remarkable and very unique about what we were sipping.

One lady mentioned it was a bit like wasabi peas – the spice hits you and initially you may not entirely like it, but then you get past the ‘pain’ threshold and start to love it, unable to help yourself from eating more and more.

All shared they had never tasted anything quite like it.

I encouraged adding water – not a drop or two but instead a very generous pour of water. Much discussion ensued about its character. Some absolutely loved it, some found it extraordinary but peculiar.

The reveal was a complete surprise. Rum? Seriously rum?


There are a few spirits made with such craft that they achieve the calibre of a good single malt. Without a doubt, the Hampden achieves this. Similarly, the Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva Extra Anejo Tequila goes well beyond the standard tequila and could appeal to some whisky aficionados.

PS I did also share it with the gentlemen after our evening with Ghosted Reserve 21 year, Berrys’ Speyside & Islay... let’s just say they couldn’t wrap their palates around it.

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