These 1993s have been very good to legendary, so todays ensemble should be a fun encounter.
Golden Devil Hampden “C<>H” 1993 27YO (64,8%): In case you didn’t know, Golden Devil is Hunter Laing’s US equivalent of Kill Devil. Please don’t ask why they (have to) use differet names and bottle colours. Nose: Plenty of solvent, acetone and pastry can be found here. Right after that pineapple, citrus (think acidic oranges), chorizo, Kalmata olives, almond paste and a mix of sweeter fruits. There’s quite some oak of course, but it feels just right. And darn, this one seems to be smooth as a baby’s bottom. Great stuff! Palate: Just like the nose suggested, the integration of the alcohol is stellar. What you’ll notice right away however is the Rum’s bitterness – the barrel was clearly very active. Something that worked wonders in the nose is a small weak spot here. Flavourwise, we get pastry, almonds, acetone, bitter olives, blood oranges, black tea and lots of oak. It’s fine, but I feel that the barrel has taken away too many notes while providing too much bitterness at the same time. What a bummer! Finish: Long and oaky with vanilla, bitter tea and a hint of blood oranges/ grapefruit here and there. It does suit the palate I think. All in all it is a very good Rum, especially the nose is fantastic. The bitterness is quite a bit too much for my liking, however. (91/100)
Nobilis Hampden “C<>H” 1993 27YO (65,8%): This is already a legendary bottling and we are about to see why. Nose: Holy moly, this is Hampden perfection. Smooth, rich, balanced (in Hampden terms), intense, complex, lovely and just right up my alley. We get ripe tropical fruits (pineapple, banana) and esters, not as many acidic notes than you’d expect, plenty of glue and solvent, sweet baklava, citrus, definitely cherries, vanilla, oak, thyme, Merguez… this is the full package and I feel that we could muse and think about this Rum for several hours. I love this ****. Palate: 66%? You gotta be kidding me. Yes, it delivers the corresponding texture and the intensity, but not the sharpness. The integration of the alcohol is marvelous and while the aromas fall a bit short of the amazing nose here, this is still absolutely outstanding. We get grilled pineapple, different citrus fruits, spicy humus and falafel, while we are at it: a mix of oriental spices, banana, solvent, thyme and parsley, olives (Kalmata of course!), a hint of engine oil, grilled fish and charcoal. Once again, this is just insanely good and ultra complex; really Hampden at its best. Finish: Long, rich and lasting with a perfect mix of the fruity and Mediterranean notes. Here and there also oak and spices from the cask. It doesn’t get much better than this. (95/100)
Rum Artesanal Hampden “C<>H” (for Whiskytempel) 1993 28YO (61,9%): Nose: Right after pouring the entire room gets filled with lovely scents. Perhaps we should ask what the neighbors think!? Anyway, we get overripe fruits (a mashup of strawberries, pineapple, citrus, cherries and apricot), persipan, glue, pastry, cherry or raspberry eau-de-vie, oak and more persipan, a few spices from the cask and also herbal notes such as dill or sage. The intensity is spot on, but nevertheless I think that this is slightly “thin” – no idea why… What is more, there’s clearly a very odd, floral to soapy element to this. It is hard to explain but think violets perhaps. Palate: Hmm… different from the palate. The Rum isn’t thin at all, quite the contrary, it is extremely oily, but the flavours aren’t as dense and concentrated as they were in the nose. Instead, they slowly reveal themselves one after another, going deep into the finish. We start with pineapple, citrus fruits and raspberry, have a brief stop at our local bakery before moving on to the nearby forest with its oak trees and herbs. Fresh spring water, fennel salami and tomatoes are other impressions. That surely works, even though it is a bit weird having to wait for the flavours with a Hampden in my glass. I am also quite sure now that this odd note from the note are indeed violets by the way. Finish: Long and wild, going through different stages of this constantly expanding flavour profile once again. Strawberries and cherries are noteworthy additions, as are soil, pepper and more oak. The Rum is even a bit astringent now. I didn’t enjoy this too much in a first tasting, but I am starting to appreciate this Rum more and more, which ultimately pushes it into ninety point territory for me. (90/100)
Salon du Rhum Hampden “C<>H” 1993 28YO (57,8%): Nose: In direct comparison, this is less intense than the Rum Artesanal. Crucially, it is nowhere near as fruity and much more focused on sweet pastry, persipan and sugar. That said, it is a very dense nose where you get the impression that you wouldn’t be able to sniff anything that you put behind that Hampden, no matter what it is. You may know that I can be a sucker for both profiles of Hampden, the fruit-bombs, and the creamy, sometimes Mediterranean pastries that they can be. Here we clearly get those Mediterranean vibes, but mostly in the form of herbs. Crazy how different two barrels of the same batch can be! Palate: Slightly thin, unfortunately. We get candied fruits, ginger, oak, pepper, vanilla, orange bitters and a very strong astringency. I think this one should have been bottled earlier, where it had more power, a more pronounced fruityness and less cask influence. Still decent though. Finish: Long and creamy with olives and olive oil, walnuts, pastry, dried tomatoes and humus perhaps. This is something that I’d associate rather with Hampdens of the 2000s actually. We know that the distillate is amazing, but this one simply wasn’t the best barrel, I think. (84/100)