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1993 Jamaica's Top Pots (Hampden) 27 Year Old "Golden Devil" Single Barrel Jamaican Rum (375ml) SKU #1511231

Price: $179.99

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Tasting Notes

We just couldn't say no to the chance at selling one of the oldest versions of Jamaica's most special distillery. This legendary estate, which cannot be named by our bottler, produces the most traditional rum in Jamaica and perhaps the entire world. Famous for the use of "muck" to aid in fermentation, the distillery takes spent lees and organic refuse to create a secondary fermentation which cultivates certain types of bacteria. Those bacterial are particularly adapted at producing acids, which result in the creation of esters during alcoholic fermentation. This is what give young Jamaican rum its distinctive funk, but when combined with oak, air and time - they morph into new chemicals which we perceive as extremely delicious. These long chain esters are where old rum gets its tropical fruit and other complex flavors. This single barrel from this rare distillery is the oldest from the marque we've yet to see in this country. The ester levels at distillation were between 1300-1400 gr/hL and would have been sold to blenders as the C<>H or JMC mark. It differs from the distillery's own bottlings as it was aged primarily in continental Europe for nearly 3 decades. Few products in any category will rival this unbelievable elixir in terms of depth and complexity. Indeed, its extreme rarity and quality command an unprecedented price point in our portfolio, but for aficionados there will be no question that this utterly unique experience is worth every penny.

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Staff Reviews

  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    12/17/2020
    K&L Staff Member
    David's review: We were absolutely astonished when our friends at Golden Devil phoned up to say they'd found a few barrels of really old Hampden. Now there's new issues with the trademark so this can't be sold with that special distillery's name on the bottle, but I'm certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was distilled at the special distillery in Trelawny parish almost 30 years ago. To appreciate the rarity and uniqueness of this special cask, one must first understand why Hampden is regarded by many to be one of the best rum distillers in the world. Hampden has changed little since its creation several hundred years ago. For centuries it was more or less traded as a commodity. Its ability to produce high quality high ester spirits was prized by blenders, perfumers, confectioners etc. These high ester rums maybe never were intended to be consumed on their own, their intensity making them perfect as a tiny part of a larger flavor profile. But just like the big smoky Islays, which were once seen by the industry more as a tool of the blender than as a style to be marketed outright, these rums have developed a following among the few who have had the chance to experience them. And to further the analogy to single malt, while there are many excellent distilleries on the island where this is distilled, nothing is more highly prized than old versions of the most traditional distillers—Bowmore, Ardbeg, Laphroaig. Except all of those distilleries have updated their technology more or less to join the modern era. Hampden is still creating spirits as they might have a century ago and they were doing just that in 1993 when this special cask of rum was distilled. Back then, there was likely no market for this as a standalone cask and the fact that it has survived this long is as incredible in and of itself. And of course, the price reflects the great rarity here, but in the grand scheme of things, there will be a moment when someone realizes what an inexplicably reasonable price this ultimately was. After nearly 30 years this ultra-high ester rum has achieved a level of complexity that few drinkers will ever experience. It won't suit every palate—like Islay Scotch, you're either in the ester club or out, but for those in the club, this will likely go down as a legend. Let's taste! The color is old gold. Immediately on the massive nose fresh paint, shellac, and varnish stun the senses. Once the initial ester wave numbs the brain slightly, we begin to pick up a stunning bouquet of aromas: midrace F1 pit stop, salted lemons, green & black olives and their brine, bananas in all stages of ripeness and putrefaction. An absolutely impossible mix of intensity and near sensory overload on the palate. Simultaneously wildly rich, sour, salty and sweet. The heat is numbing and helps to temper the initial shock. Vibrant with a freshness that's undeniable but coupled with a near heart stopping power. Now this spirit is full strength and adding water is obligatory. Just a few drops and the varnish relinquishes its hold and the whole thing is taken over by the tropical fruit and the salty olives. The smoke is there still, but it's clean and linear. If you could get limestone to ignite, I'd imagine that's close to what you might smell. The texture is now downright thick—mostly on the lemons and the salt, but with a bevy of exotic herbs and botanicals added. Ardbeg lovers rejoice. Absolutely in love. I'm desperately afraid because all I want to do with my life is sit here and drink this. Very dangerous stuff.
  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    12/15/2020
    K&L Staff Member
    Several miracles had to happen for this spirit to exist. The first is the miracle that is Hampden - the world’s highest ester rums come out of Hampden and their ancient process. It’s insane that it’s still done the same way there today as it was in the 1800’s. It’s frankly a miracle that modern practices have not condemned this incredible place to the annals of history. The second is that no blender snatched this up years ago. These rums are impossibly complex and just a few drops will enhance lessor distillates. It’s liquid gold to a rum house and unfathomable that with 27 years in the books it survived for so long. The third miracle is that it wound up in our hands. Thanks to our long standing relationships and desire to offer the world’s best spirits at the best prices - this gem is starkly underpriced. Through the traditional channels, this would easily be a $500 half bottle. We choose to bottle in 375ml instead of our usual 750 simply to spread this joy to as many people as possible. 262 bottles were produced and it’s unlikely we will ever see the likes of such a spirit again. I’ve had a pour on my desk for the last 4 hours and haven’t yet tasted it. Even from a small Glencairn tasting glass, the bouquet skips about the room. Fusal oils, sesame seeds, pineapples, cigars and tar fill the space. It’s overwhelming. You could spend 3 days sniffing the glass and not repeat yourself, it is an amalgamation of flavor unlike anything available on earth. Upon actually sipping the rum - your brain explodes. That would be it, except this rum could wake the dead. As your heart jolts into hyperdrive you feel almost as if your tongue has been struck by lightning - or at least dipped into an electrical socket. A wild array of berries, vinegar, exotic spices, and yes alcohol rip across your palate. At 64.8% I suppose this is to be expected, but this is different than just some high proof hooch. It is power with purpose. It carries so much flavor that all that heat is forgiven. Wild grasses and fruits compete for your attention. As you exhale it seems you pass an oil refinery on the side of the highway with your windows down. This sounds gross, but it’s oddly pleasant. Like the smell of a marina on a lake and an old two stroke motor zipping by. It’s yet another inexplicable wonder of Hampden - flavors that you might recognize as something undesirable when you put words to it actually captivate you because they’re bolstered by everything else. It’s no wonder these spirits are so prized by blenders. A minuscule amount goes a long, long way. No matter what you do with it, you’ll be happy - sip it straight, kick back a few cocktails, or just look at a piece of history on your liquor shelf. Don’t kick yourself later for missing this one of a kind experience.

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