Blackadder Raw Cask Finest Jamaica 2000 Hampden 14 Year – 57.4%
Stats: Independent bottling of a single cask Hampden distillate from September 2000 that aged 14 years continentally, rumored to be the LROK marque. Only 202 bottles were produced with no filtration or additives.
Background: I first got to try this expression several years back in the Bamboo Room of Three Dots & A Dash in Chicago as part of a guided tasting with Kevin Beary. Up to that point, I had not been aware of the existence of Hampden as their distillery releases hadn’t yet come to market and the concept of independent bottlings was still foreign to me. So at Kevin’s behest, this was my first foray not just into the world of IB’s, but into single cask/single marque Hampden, and boy did it blow me away and start me on a path of exploration. Rum Fire launched soon after, followed by several other Hampden Estate releases and Habitation Velier offerings. Hampden became my obsession and I frantically chased down and swapped for every and any release I could get my hands on. Being several years removed from my first taste of this particular bottling on that fateful night and having experienced so many varieties since, I am super grateful to u/spicvandyke on Reddit for procuring a bottle in NY and sampling me on it so I could see how my memory and palate perceive it today.
Conditions: Drank neat in a Glencairn over the course of two sessions with no dilution.
Nose: Forest, cinnamon, nutmeg, humidor, muskiness, plums, seaweed, slightly “off” milk
Mouth: Cloyingly sweet pineapple juice, rotting bananas, guava, cracked pepper, clove, anise, salami, orange bitters
Final Thoughts: A small pour of this just fills the room with a delightful fruity aroma. Nosing the glass brings forth heavier spice and musky notes. The palate is a wild ride. Now that I’ve experienced quite a few Hampden expressions of different ages, marques and ABV’s, I don’t find this one to be in the upper echelon of the distilleries output, but I could see why it spoke so profoundly to me when I first got the opportunity to try it. My taste buds had never experienced anything like it. Assuming this is the LROK marque, I find it to be more enjoyable than Hampden’s current 11 year LROK on the market, and also prefer it over the 10 year and NY Edition HV LROKs. If I could find this locally for under $150, I would surely pick it up.
My Rating: 4
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