Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Review 73 - Hampden Estate Rum Fire Velvet

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Uncooperative and funky to a fault. Hampden is back.

Time for another white rum. And another white jamaican.

This time I’m dealing with the Hampden Estate Rum Fire Velvet.
Rum Fire is a brand nested under Hampden Estate which deals exclusively in heavy pot still rums.

Furthermore the combination of unique terroir and several generations of skill, makes this the Jamaican stronghold of high ester rums. And that is saying a lot.

They are also very big on sustainability and environment. Please swing by their webpage to get the full bearings. It is actually one of the more interesting web pages I have read.

So, that all sounds exciting. However I’m not totally unexperienced with Hampden rums.
The Rum Nation Jamaica 23 year old Supreme Lord VII I reviewed several months ago was also a Hampden. And I liked that quite a bit.

The Velvet is a heavy pot still product, bottled at a blistering 63% ABV.
It hasn’t been aged and is probably not suitable for sipping. But I’m going to have a go at it anyway. Primarily because I love Hampden and high proof rums. But also just for shits and giggles.

Anecdote from real life: During Berlin Rum Fest 2015 I had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful Ms. Christelle Harris, daughter of the owner of Hampden Estate and Rum Fire Director of Marketing. After a long chat with her, rescuing her from a seriously creepy schnurbart wielding German dude, and another long chat the day after, there is no doubt that Rum Fire have found a very good way to get in touch with their potential customers.
Yep. It comes in a bottle. A pretty standard one with a silver screw cap lid.

It sports a black label with silver text and trim – and purple flames of fire! Cool…

The label doesn’t say much besides the name and the origin. But does it really have to, when it isn’t aged or blended or anything? Naah … I don’t think so. I think the label does a good job and it doesn’t bore you to death with incredible stories.

Twisting the screw cap gives you access to the crystal clear liquid inside.
It blasts its way out the bottle and into the glass, before splashing super pungent and insanely fruity scents cascading through the air.

It is so full of fruits, that I have a hard time identifying any specific components.

It does have the intense, concentrated green apples of other Hampdens i have tried.

There is also some pears jumbled in there along with cola nut extract.

It even has a resemblance with a ludicrously strong cider.

Not the most complex nose, but super juicy indeed.
The nose translates perfectly onto the palate.

Super strong, super pungent and super fruity.

Not much more than the concentrated apples to go for.

But at least they are delivered at a stomach turning strength, which nearly blew my lid right off.

It is quite tasty. But at the same time too strong, too brutal and too indelicate.

A shame really. Because it had the potential to rock your socks off.
Rather long and clean finish.

The Rum Fire really lives up to its name, and turns up the heat knob quite a bit.

Strong heat at first, which builds up for a while.

Then the fade sets in, and lets both the heat and the funky, concentrated fruityness disappear without a trace. It is that clean.

Not that bad actually, even though my tonsil hurt a bit.

I have had several high proof and cask strength rums so far, but this one has been one of the most uncooperative and brutal ones.

But then again: What am I doing sipping a 63% pot still Jamaican made for cocktails and tiki drinks? 

I had one or two things coming that’s for sure.
Rating and final thoughts
Another great example of a tasty white rum.

It is pretty clear that this isn’t meant to be a sipping rum. I suspect it is aimed purely at mixologists, cocktail people and tiki wizards.

Although it can be sipped, and I’m sure that quite a few people might even enjoy it, I don’t think I’ll be experimenting with it again in this fashion. The rest of mine will go into cocktails.

No matter what you may think of it based on my scribblings, I urge you to try it out, if you can find a bottle of it. They go for around €20 in mainland Europe (in Denmark we however get to pay twice as much due to taxes on high proof spirits), which is practically Bacardi Superior country.

So please do me a favour and go off the reservation next time you look to get a bit silly.
It’s tasty, it’s funky, it’s pure pot still and it’s 63%. I guarantee that you will get hammered, if only you put in just a tiny effort.         

Talking alternatives doesn’t really apply here, as we are at the very entry level of rums in general. But you will have a hard time finding a better product with such a ridiculously small price tag.

Even though my rating may seem like this is a mediocre rum, I actually think it is a better product than that. Only, it isn’t as sip-worthy as the White Rum Nation rum. And it might actually be both too strong and too pungent as it is.

But for the pure effort of creating a good, solid, white rum, Rum Fire walks away with a…

Rating: 69/100


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