We have good news for you. Firstly, our buddy Artur finally managed to launch his blog “The Dunder Hut”. As if that weren’t good enough already, we did do todays tasting together and you will thus not only get my opinion of the rums, but Artur’s as well. So make sure to check that out by clicking here.
Secondly, another buddy of ours, Oliver, is the guy who is programming the Rum Tasting Notes app (together with Benoit and Vincent), which has finally been launched for Android. An iOS version has been out for a long time already and a web version is planned to be released by the end of the year. To keep it short: I am sure that it will quickly become the Rum pendant to the Whiskybase and I am supporting the platform to the fullest. That’s why you will find a link with the Rum Tasting Notes (RTN) icon from now on at the end of a review, which will directly link you to the rum if you have the app installed. There you will find community reviews and plenty of other cool features which will be added and updated constantly. So if you aren’t already familiar with RTN, make sure to check that out as well. We hope that you will contribute to making it the platform all of us have been looking for for quite some time now. By the way, I will do my best to include the links in previous reviews as well, but that will likely take some time. But now on to todays rums!
Let’s maybe put the conclusion at the beggining this time. Think about this as the abstract perhaps. I really feel like these rums are essentially collector’s items at this point. Most of them have been way below expectations and the prices of these babies have been skyrocketing way beyond the point at which the meaning bang for buck could ever make sense. Sure, there’s a really special one among them and also a true gem but it is as it is so often these days: with the former, having tried it once is essentially enough while there are/ have been plenty of alternatives for the latter.
Velier Hampden 2012 7YO “OWH” -Whisky Live Paris- (62,8%): We’ve decided to rank the rums in ascending order by their ester count/ marques. Coincidentally, that also means that we are getting slightly older as we progress. Nose: Quite mellow, ever so slightly thin and with plenty of oranges. With time, it is getting fuller and I get some pastry and hints of lavender. Then fruits such as mango or papaya, glue, and the notes that I learned to associate with fresh Borboun barrels (caramel, cinnamon, vanilla). It is a pretty cool nose that’s incredibly mature in a sense. Palate: Quite sharp with citrus and plenty of alcohol. Oh dear, what happened here? A lot of nothing, pear, unripe pineapple perhaps but that’s about it. Banana? No, this isn’t good and absolutely not what I expected after the wonderful nose. Finish: It’s funny as the burn of the alcohol lasts for quite a bit but the flavours are gone within seconds. I guess my verdict is clear: The nose was good, the rest not so much. (75/100)
Velier Hampden 2011 8YO “OWH” -Berlin Bar Convent- (59,5%): I hope this OWH can improve upon the 2012, which was actually worse than the corresponding IBs by TCRL (click here for the review of one of them). Nose: Not as close to the 2012 as you’d think. It is slightly musty with a huge faulty, metallic note that reminds me of sweat and sweet herbs. What is more, it just doesn’t want to open up. After a while we can add powdered sugar but actually not much more. All I can say is that it is slightly too sweet for my liking. Palate: The integration of the alcohol is much better than with the 2012 and flavour- and body-wise, we have tremendous similarities with Grappa. Still, this isn’t to my liking at all, just not what I cherish so much about the distillery. It’s very adstringent and woody – just not good. Finish: Too long with lots of wood and bitter notes. Nothing really seems to work and match here. Perhaps it’s even the better rum objectively when comparing it with the 2012 OWH but it simply isn’t my cup of tea. (74/100)
Velier Hampden 2011 8YO “LFCH” -Whisky Live Singapore- (61,7%): Nose: Slightly metallic and incredibly similar to the 2011 OWH at first. I get a mix of fruits (citrus, most notably), Cola, herbals notes (mint), sour cherry, the more I think about it, also cherry flavoured Cola and slightly smoky tobacco. It is interesting but not really exciting, unfortunately. Palate: Once again, a lot worse than the nose. What is it with these rums? It is very thin and slightly sweet with mango, wood and later some pear. The alcohol isn’t integrated very well either and the smoky notes I am getting now (think tobacco) are rather disturbing. Finish: Not too long and somewhere between sweet, woody and fruity. My oh my… We’ve had it next to the Habitation Velier Hampden LFCH batch release and it loses the direct comparision by a wide margin. (77/100)
Velier Hampden 2010 9YO “LROK” -Salon du Rhum- (63,2%): Nose: Very savory and umami, with ripe banana and plantains. It is rare that you can tell from the nose how fat and full-bodied a rum should be. Then citrus (lime, grapefruit), sour pineapple and bubble gum perhaps. After a while also glue and cheap persipan. Palate: Actually not as fat and umami as we thought. Instead the whole range of fruits (basically the Ps: pineapple, papaya, peach), cherry coke as well as sweet and buttery crumbles. Really nice, even though it really isn’t what you’d expect after the nose. Finish: Medium long with sour cherries, some wood but besides that, not too much. It is a really good rum. Finally! Also, it is totally different from the batch release, which makes this one non-redundant if you ask me. (85/100)
Velier Hampden 2010 9YO “<>H” -LMDW- 9YO (69,2%): On to the marques where I think Hampden is at its best. Nose: Very nice! Esters galore! I get grilled pineapple, oranges, acetone, nail polisch remover, lime, sour cherries and what not. It is extremely complex and frankly, really aweseome. What is more, I’d say it has the perfect cask influence. This one just gets it right. Palate: Well-balanced, depsite the high ester level. There are lots of fruits (ripe mango, papaya), pastry, marzipan and pistachio, all with a lot of power. It is a straightforward, in your face but still well-balanced rum at perfection. The only downside would be the simplicity of the palate, if you want. Finish: Just right again. A pleasant mix of the fruity, the dry and the woody. This is why we love Hampden. (92/100)
Velier Hampden 2010 9YO “HLCF/DOK” -The One and Only- 9YO (61%): The one and only means that this is the only barrel of Hampden where these two styles have been blended in the cask. Let’s see. Nose: At first I thought that this is really just two rums next to eachother but they form a unity eventually. It is slightly sour with lots of citrus (grapefruit) and lid matches. Really great! Then apricot and peaches, as well as glue. Later also herbs. Now it is all of a sudden becoming more layered again – making it not as harmonious anymore. Nevertheless, it is still clearly complex. Cool! Palate: Full bodied with cookies and cookie dough. It is dry and settled at first, then rather layered again, with banana, citrus (lime) and sour, unripe pineapple. Not a real symbiosis. It is crazy, it is good, but not balanced. Everything comes and goes, which is interesting, but also demanding and exhausting. The major problem is that all of the notes vanish way to quickly. Finish: Really strange and I cannot quite name it. Once again, everything comes and goes way too quickly. Too bad. A real weirdo that I’d describe like the Greathouse on crack. But crack doesn’t necessarily make your life better. (88/100)