There have been several “Experimental Cask Series” by our Danish friends from 1423 and we will check them out one after another. The idea is to discover the impact a cask has on the final Rum. For a start, we are having four DOKs from Hampden, an unaged one and three that have been aging in different cask types for about a year.
S.B.S Hampden “DOK” 2019 (57%): Let’s start with the unaged one. We are familiar with DOK of course, but also with the differences between different batches. Nose: Acetone from outer space. Let’s put that develish nail polish remover away, shall we!? Behind that also varnish, mango, passion fruit, pineapple, pear, lacquer and a few more nutty notes. This is incredibly thick and creamy. It did spend about a year in some sort of tank though, which clearly helped. What’s that? Maybe cocoa in the back as well? Superb stuff. Palate: Relatively smooth at first, but then rather strong towards the middle part of the palate. The texture is just the nuts. Flavourwise, we are in similar territories as in the nose but this creamy, pudding-like layer is what makes it so special. Later also some more herbal notes (dried herbs mix, fresh mint) and menthol. Finish: Those menthol notes and peppermint last for very long. The fruity notes come and go, but don’t stick around for very long. This sets the bar. Not what I’d resort to every day, but yeah, DOK is still insane. (86/100)
S.B.S Hampden “DOK” 2019 1YO “PX Cask” (50%): Let’s hope those barrels weren’t too wet! Nose: Yes, this is different. The general character as we’ve just had it is clearly still there, but the barrel definitely shaped the Rum. Sweet (red) berries, some leather, way less acetone, minimal woody notes and later also more herbal nuances than with the unaged one. Really nice! Palate: 50%, paired with the extra sweetness from the PX Cask, make this way more drinkable. We get that mix of tropical fruits, the red berries, raisins, some syrupy notes and herbs such as rosary or thyme. Highly enjoyable. Finish: Not as long and rather on the sweet and bitter side (think cranberries perhaps). It is really fitting though. I am not sure if I can say that I like it more or less than the unaged one. It is just different. Put differently, it does a few things better, and a few things not quite as good. (86/100)
S.B.S Hampden “DOK” 2019 1YO “Bourbon Cask” (51%): Nose: Naturally, this is much closer to the unaged Rum than it is to the PX Cask. We get pretty much exactly the same set of notes, it is just that everything is a bit more muted and tamed. The acetone isn’t a strong, but we get more of those typical pastry, almond paste and marzipan notes here. Falafel perhaps!? Palate: My first impression is that this is kinda watery. The dilution didn’t work as well here as it does with the fortified wine barrels. Flavourwise we are fine (i.e. that mix between the unaged one and those pastry and pasta notes) but this is just way too thin for my liking. I’ve noticed time and again that especially these high ester Rums don’t tolerate dilution all that much. Again, the added sweetness from the fortified wine barrels helps, but here we simply miss that. Finish: The shortest of the bunch, with continental fruits such as apples and pears, citrus and corn. It’s good, but not an upgrade. At least not at this level of maturity. (83/100)
S.B.S Hampden “DOK” 2019 1YO “Madeira Cask” (53%): Last but not least, the Madeira cask. Nose: Already while pouring I notice that the slightly higher abv probably helps. In terms of intensity, it is the only one that gets close to the unaged Rum. Here we get red grapes, raisins, a mix of red fruits and a bit of wood on top, however. Palate: Quite creamy but also with a certain sharpness to it. A sweet vanilla muffin stuffed with blueberries, red grapes and dry red wine, sour cherries and something akin to Rooibos tea are additional notes in this profile. There’s also a slight bitterness that’s quite helpful here. Finish: Long and sweet with nail polish remover, red fruits, some wood and herbal notes. All in all it is more intense but not as nice as the PX Cask. Alas, we cannot rate it any higher or lower either. (86/100)