Updated: May 3, 2019
When I went to London for UK Rumfest in October, I first visited a great tasting event on the Goldon Hind, set up by the guys from Rum Cask.
Joshua Singh from 1423. dk - World Class Spirits was there with a fine selection of SBS rums. Before getting into those, someone had already told me that Joshua had brought something special with him. While I was tasting his rums I said:“someone told me….”. I didn’t have to finish my sentence. He nodded and reached into a bag that was hidden from plain sight. Out came a generic bottle and he poured me a sample. Oh my, the funk…where have you been?! Clearly a high ester Jamaican rum, but with a certain pleasant sweetness to it.
Enter SBS Jamaica 2018. A Hampden DOK, aged for 6 months in PX sherry casks.
A couple of months later, as luck would have it, Joshua and I were in Colombia at the same time. The Hampden rum had just been bottled. Perfect time for me to buy a couple of bottles. Buying Hampden rum in Colombia and going clubbing with the guy who just sold it to me is definitely rare. Fun rum times!
DOK stands for Dermot Owen Kelly-Lawson. It’s a marque from Hampden that indicates the highest ester rum they produce at 1500-1600 g/hlaa. This is the maximum level of esters allowed by the Jamaican government.
It was never intended for drinking but actually for blending and flavouring. It’s in chocolates and perfume for example. However, a while ago some rum enthusiasts started to express a curiosity for extremely funky rums and all of a sudden a small demand was there for drinking high ester rums.
1423. dk - World Class Spirits bought this Hampden rum from Scheer in Amsterdam at 85% abv. They brought it down to 60% and then put it in four 40 liter barrels.
Bottler: 1423. dk - World Class Spirits
Age: 6 months in PX sherry cask
On the nose it’s very funky but a sweet and mellow version. Mellow is perhaps not the right word to use but don’t know how else to describe it. It’s almost like rotten bananas that have been sweetened up somehow. There’s varnish (of course), caramel, pineapple and a beautiful sweet woody note.
Heavy funk coats your entire mouth. Wow, it’s extreme. Varnish, roasted bananas, sweet banana candy, sherry and oak are all very present. Lots of joy to find in small sips. The finish is long and warm. After leaving the empty glass overnight it smelt like a partly burnt log in the morning. How nice!
The label is very clear and detailed. No additives.
Level: Zero to low.
This rum is for people who are curious to explore the limits of funkiness. If you are looking for a well balanced daily sipper, this isn’t it. It is a very interesting experiment where the bottler has tried to give a twist to the highest ester rum in the world. I feel they’ve been very successful at this as the 6 months in PX cask added several layers to it and made it more drinkable. Bravo! We need more of this.