Updated: Mar 25, 2020
I’ve only been to UK rumfest twice so far. One thing I’ve done on both occassions is to be present at two Velier seminars. Why two? Because they are always different in content and in rum…..and because you walk out of there feeling like you can conquer the world! Velier’s owner, Luca Gargano, is quite the passionate speaker. It’s always a great combination of education, fun and a boatload of positive energy. Not to mention the rum being excellent each and every time. How about a 1984 Monymusk?!
A rum he brought this year (2019) was one that impressed me a lot. Luca introduced it as “the one and only”. This turned out to be Hampden HLCF/DOK 2010. The reason why he introduced it that way is that it’s not typical for Hampden to blend different marks in the barrel. Therefore, there truly is only one barrel. It’s unique. I asked him how this came about:”I don’t know. Maybe they had a batch of HLCF and one barrel wasn’t completely filled, so they topped it off with DOK. Nobody knows.”
Turns out, it’s quite the fluke and I wish we knew more about the reasons for filling the barrel this way. Immediately my thoughts went to the rarity of this bottle and how difficult it would be to ever get one, especially being in Canada. You just know they’ll be sold out in 10 minutes once they hit the market in Europe (Italy to be precise). I needed the help of an angel. Fast forward to November. I had a very long chat with Luca about rum. I enjoyed that immensely. One of the things we discussed was this bottle. To make a long story short, at the end of the conversation he said he’d send me one! Santa Gargano! I knew my Christmas was going to be a good one before it even started. Made me a very happy man.
Naturally I needed to taste test it for Rum Revelations and compare it with a couple of others. I thought a comparison with the 2 components of the blend would be appropriate. Out comes Velier Hampden HLCF and Kintra Hampden DOK. The HLCF is a tropically aged rum with a tongue numbing abv of 68.5%. Kintra is an independent bottler from the Netherlands. They sourced the rum from Scheer in Amsterdam. It’s therefore likely fully aged in Europe.
Apart from the ageing climate, there is another major difference between these two. Hampden is known for producing very high ester rums, with the highest ones typically not made for drinking but for use in chocolates, perfumes etc. However, these rums are getting more and more of a following in rum enthusiast circles the past few years. The HLCF clocks in at 550 gr/hlaa, with which it sits in the middle of the Hampden ester table. The DOK on the other hand sits right at the top. This mark has about 1600 gr/hlaa esters, the maximum allowed by law. It’s known to be a funky fruit bomb. A lot of DOK rum is bottled or blended unaged. This Kintra has been aged for 8 years, likely making it a lot more drinkable.
Single Cask Rum has a very nice Hampden ester table: