2007 Hampden Golden Devil 12 yr. - 64.1%
This was a K&L release from a couple years ago showcasing Hampden's high ester count mark C<>H (1300-1400 esters). It'll be fun to see what 12 years of continental aging does with that much funk. I've been a fan of these 2007, continentally aged distillations. A 10 year Kill Devil and 9 year Golden Devil (K&L) have both gotten solid review from me in the past and inspired the tracking down of this sample.
Notes: I love Hampden when it gets a little candied and drops in some berry notes to compliment all the tropical fruit. I'm getting those candied red fruits here to compliment the pineapple and brine. The aromatics are loud, but in control. The palate starts out more dry than I usually prefer - leading with the oak and brine and savory spice. But the candied fruits (berries, banana, pineapple) and lactic (cream cheese and yogurt) notes kick in quickly - softening and layering everything through the finish. It's long, dynamic, and rolling. This pour inverts my structural expectations. Normally, pours like this start rounder and fruiter and chewier before the top notes spike and things dry and thin into a long finish. The fruits and sweets this carries on the back end are really rewarding.
Score: 8 (Stash One) Last week I said my preferences were shifting to lower ester count Hampden bottlings. Well, that was last week.
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 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour