Updated: Jan 22
1998 Hampden 18 yr. - Kill Devil - 46%
Context: Hampden hooked me on rum. After hearing some buzz on Barrell Rum 001, I traded a sample pack of all 10 Four Roses Private Selection recipes for a full bottle. I had no idea how to wrap my head around the pour. The 134.73 proof slapped me around for a full minute or so and never dropped flavor - like never, it just kept going and going well past what would commonly be described as a long finish. You could smell it a room over. There weren't many Hampden options available in the US back in 2017, so I ended up draining those Four Roses bottles quickly for backups of Barrell Rum 001 and Stolen Overproof. Once I was stocked full up, I had a couple bottles of this 1998 Hampden shipped from overseas, stashing the final two ounces from those bottles to be reviewed below.
Nose: Pineapple. Oak. Brine. Black pepper jerky. Olives. Caramel. Melted butter. Nutty fudge. Faint camphor. Great sugared and savory combo.
Flavor: Buttery and vegetal up front. Tropical fruit into wood and seasoning spice. There are some sweet and cheesy notes running underneath everything. Smoked oysters in the finish.
Palate Structure: Big action. Flavor comes in waves. Notes spike mid-palate into a mellow finish.
Alcohol Integration: Nose and palate offer more expression and complexity than you usually get at this proof. Heat is pretty non-existent.
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Islay Scotch - peaty, maritime dram, little to zero sherry influence.
Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) I bought three of these never regretting a drop. That said, having taken down a lot more Hampden over the past 3 years, I wouldn't buy a backup of this one today. Some of the higher proof 16 and 17 years I've tried as well as the younger, tropics aged Velier releases make a bigger impression.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour