Hampden 2011 Endemic Bird Series “Pewee” 9 Year LFCH – 61.2%

Hampden 2011 Endemic Bird Series “Pewee” 9 Year LFCH – 61.2%

Stats: This was a limited edition bottling as part of the Trelawny Endemic Bird Series. Certain markets in the US and abroad received single casks (~250 bottles each) of different single marque expressions from Hampden Estate. These were all distillery releases, not IB’s, and priced in the neighborhood of $200-250 at retail. “Pewee” is a 9 year, single cask, pure pot still expression of the LFCH marque (indicating ester levels between 90-120g/hL) that was reserved for the New York market.

Source: Obtained in a trade.

Conditions: Drank neat in a single session over 20-30 minutes in a Glencairn glass with no dilution.

Nose: Cinnamon, vanilla, cedar chest, cacao, sawdust, dirt, forest, green beans, coconut

Mouth: Tons of powdered cinnamon quickly followed by an avalanche of over ripe tropical fruits and herbal notes. A slight astringency and mild burn. Trash heap, industrial funk, motor oil, tires, but also a silky, almost simple syrup-like sweetness. Ash is the lingering note.

Final Thoughts: This is a delicious rum. Full of flavor. Drinks below it’s proof. Trademark Hampden. I prefer it over the 2020 Great House and find it comparable to Hampden Overproof, but the fact that Pewee is priced twice as much as the other distillery releases makes it a little tough to swallow. I comprehend the economics of small producer batch distillation, the impact of evaporation from tropical aging, and other aspects that lend to increasing price tags, but this feels like a total cash grab. A test to see what limits they can push the rising popularity of the brand and category. And guess what? It worked! This series sold out in most every market immediately upon release and these bottles are now fetching obscene prices in the secondary market and bringing more notoriety to the brand. Which is great! Hampden is my favorite Jamaican distillery and I wish everyone involved nothing but huge success. I just hope their planned expansion will create enough aging stocks to satiate the demand so prices don’t trend as high as this series. That said, I wish I had a bottle and not just a sample. But would I pay $200+? Nope.

My Rating: 4

My Scale:
1 – I don’t want this in my mouth ever again
2 – Best used for mixing
3 – Decent sipper
4 – Very enjoyable
5 – I’m buying a back up bottle

Note: Image borrowed from dewinespot.co who currently has a bottle for $999 if anyone is so inclined.

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