Hampden Great House 2020 - 59%
Word was positive on the inaugural 2019 Great House. I haven't tried it for comparison, but early discussions around the 2020 position it as mellower than the 2019. The bulk (80%) of both releases is 7 year old, tropics aged, OWH (Outram W Hussey) - the mellowest Hampden mark with their lowest ester count - 40-80 gr/hL AA. The major difference between the releases seems to be the mark used for the final 20% of the blend. In the case of 2019, it was 3 year old DOK - the funkiest Hampden mark at 1500-1600 gr/hL AA. You're unlikely to forget tasting a DOK if you get the chance. The 2020 reviewed here toned things down ever so slightly with 3 year old <> H - another high ester Hampden mark at 900-1000 gr/hL AA.
Nose: Expressive and complex - surprisingly controlled. Overripe banana. Slightly floral - perfumed. Yellow cake frosting. Pastries. Pineapple. Red berries. Glue. Salt, rot, and wood, layered with the fruit and baked notes. Jerky spice.
Flavor: Banana. Baked chestnuts. Olive brine. Oak. Meaty spice. Rose water. Funky and dry - here comes the <> H.
Structure: Medium weight. Gentle waves up front with building intensity toward a long, dry finish.
Proof Integration: I used the word "gentle" above, but don't hear me wrong. It brings the heat and a long active finish.
Score: 8 (Stash One) The desserty and nutty notes remind me of some longer, continentally aged, LROK Hampden I've tried. This has more dynamic - punchier, youthful - edges.
Great House 2020 is a really well crafted blend. More approachable than the <> H single casks I've tried. Plenty to enjoy for longtime fans and a fantastic introduction for the uninitiated.
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