Hampden Estate Single Jamaica Rum 2010 LROK 11 year – 47%

Note: This review was written in October, 2021. I just found it in my archive having never published it. Some new information and personal perspective has been added.

Hampden Estate Single Jamaica Rum 2010 LROK 11 year – 47%

Stats: Distillery release of an 11 year, tropically aged, single marque expression from Hampden in Jamaica. At the time of release a couple years ago, this was among the oldest aged stocks produced, aged, and released by Hampden. Of course older expressions from Hampden exist through brokers and Independent Bottlers, but those were not aged entirely at origin. This rum is a 100% double retort pot still expression that underwent an extended wild fermentation with natural yeast. The LROK mark stands for Light Rum Owen Kelly and this rum clocks an ester level of 334.7 gr/hlpa. This was a limited release at 47% ABV.

Background: Because of the unusually high bottle cost ($180 in TX), I picked this up as part of a bottle share with the Austin Rum Society, parceling out shares and ending up with just 1.5 oz for myself.

Conditions: Enjoyed neat in a Glencairn over the course of two sessions.

Nose: Hubba Bubba, fresh pineapple, sweet tobacky, grape soda, Fruity Pebbles, plastic toys, pool water

Mouth: Overripe fruit, potpourri, black cherry cola, cinnamon bark, brown sugar, graham cracker, BBQ smoke, simple syrup, heavy tobacco, sour milk

Final Thoughts: This drinks above its weight in terms of ABV, but still lacks that something special I crave from higher ester Hampdens. Having sampled several LROK expressions, this marque continues to fall short for me. I did enjoy it more than the previously released 2010 NY Edition (aged 9 years), as well as Habitation Velier’s subsequent 10 year 2010 LROK, but the supremely high price point for an 11 year, relatively low ABV rum released by the producer makes no logical sense to me.

This followed on the heels of their Endemic Bird Series which reached an unprecedented price hike where we saw eight year old casks of their lowest ester mark (OWH) reaching the $200 stratosphere. Clearly and rightfully so, the popularity of Hampden is skyrocketing, creating shortages of supply and increases in prices. Not to mention, Hampden’s OP and 46% which were intended as continuous releases have recently changed formula with age statements dropping from eight years to four years.

I’m not afraid to shell out for quality-made, unique rum and am always inclined to support the producers directly, but this current trend is untenable and I find it increasingly difficult to justify purchases like this and aiding to set new consumer standards. Money for value, the original Hampden OP at 60% for $80 was in my opinion the best product they released.

I believe Hampden recently commissioned a new pot still and increased the size of their aging facility, so hopefully in the coming years they are able to sustain the demand and continue bringing us greatness at a more reasonable price point.

My Rating: 3/5

My Scale:
1 – I don’t want this in my mouth ever again
2 – Underwhelming
3 – Decent tipple
4 – Very enjoyable
5 – I always want a bottle of this on my shelf

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