Down Island Jamaica HD 2012 (Hampden) 10 Year – 60%
Stats: First Hampden release from new independent bottler Down Island from Hollywood, FL. This rum was distilled in Trelawney, Jamaica in a copper pot still in 2012, aged in American Oak (presumably ex-Bourbon – cask #66-03) for three years at origin followed by seven additional years in the UK, before being bottled in 2022 at 60% ABV with no additives or chill filtration.
Background: I purchased this bottle through the Florida Rum Society website. It was suggested on the FRS FB page (not by anyone affiliated with Down Island as far as I know) that this rum is the HLCF mark, the same as Rum Fire. The prospect of a 10 year Rum Fire for $100? Sign me up! After having tried this, I am fairly certain this is not HLCF, but a much lower ester mark. Some folks on the web say it’s likely OWH based on the distillate year.
Conditions: Enjoyed neat in a Glencairn over the course of several sessions
Nose: Caramel corn, nutmeg, chalk, generic bar soap, gold Listerine, lavender, pine, bug spray, green banana, grape scented marker, powdered cinnamon, automotive store
Mouth: Heat, trashy funk, baby powder, orange peel, banana taffy, grilled pineapple, black tea, black pepper, nutmeg, grape fun dip, marinated meat/jerky, wilty asparagus and Brussel sprouts, dank soil, tar, teriyaki. A dry, mildly funky oakiness lingers.
Final Thoughts: This is tasty Hampden. Funky, fruity, savory, and ever evolving. Despite being on the low end of the ester scale, this is full of flavor and the oak is well integrated. There is some heat but it’s very manageable and drinkable. Happy with the purchase, it just wasn’t the funk bomb I anticipated based on initial internet rumors.
I’ll also add that I appreciate all the info on the no frills label. This is clearly a rum intended for rum nerds who crave uniqueness and transparency. The only critique I’d give is it should have also included which rum mark this is as that’s obviously a point of interest and contention in the community. I don’t believe naming it OWH would deter purchases. The Endemic Bird Series had a 2012 OWH aged just 8 years that was priced twice as high as this one and those have become highly sought after.
My Rating: 4/5
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