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Velier Hampden HLCF/DOK 2010 vs Hampden HLCF 2010 vs Kintra Hampden DOK 8 - Review

Updated: Mar 25

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:


Facts-ish


Velier Hampden HLCF

Distillery: Hampden, Jamaica

Age: 6 Years, distilled 2010

Abv: 68.5%

Esters: 550 gr/laa


Kintra Hampden 8

Distillery: Hampden, Jamaica

Age: 8 Years, distilled 06/2009

Abv: 56.5%

Other: Total of 367 bottles


Velier Hampden HLCF/DOK 2010

Distillery: Hampden, Jamaica

Age: 9 Years, distilled 2010

Abv: 61%

Other: Total of 251 bottles


Nose


Velier Hampden HLCF

It’s intense and strong on wood. I smell pine cones, vanilla, heavy toffee, olives, sea water and cheese. Compared to the Kintra it makes me think of a classy old gentleman sitting in his comfy chair. He’s got lots of life experience and is very intriguing. The Kintra on the other hand is the colourful young bubbly teenager trying to keep him awake. This while the Kintra was aged for 2 years longer than the HLCF. Might be the influence of the different climate.


Kintra Hampden 8

FFFFFFUUUUNNNKKKK! Very fruity type of paint stripper! There are bananas, pineapple, oak, old newspapers and a glossy fashion magazine. It’s meaty and sweet.


Velier Hampden HLCF/DOK 2010

Not as expressive as the other two, which might actually be a good thing. Sawdust is the first item I pick up and then a strong smell of fresh paint. Leather and olives pop up, it’s quite fruity. Smells like a room fully furnished with brand new Ikea furniture. It actually made me sneeze once. If that isn’t a sign of true quality!


HLCF narrowly beats HLCF/DOK in the nosing round.


Taste


Velier Hampden HLCF

The high abv makes it intense, it’s coating my entire mouth with Hampden goodness. Love it! It’s sweet with oak, toffee, chocolate, cardboard and brine. The finish is very long…and then when you think it’s all done, when you’ve kicked out all your guests and are about to lock up, Mr paint stripper puts his head around the door asking for another drink. This is quite the experience.


Kintra Hampden 8

It’s very woody and fruity, with turpentine and a smokey ham sandwich. Did I mention it’s fruity? Not nearly as mouth coating impressive as HLCF though.


Velier Hampden HLCF/DOK 2010

Starts out woody, leathery and sweet. At this point I think it’s better to describe the experience than the flavours. I feel these two marks combine very well. It starts with a sweeter version of the HLCF. That classy and complex old gentleman. However, he’s going to bed at 9pm. Which is when the bubbly teenager is slowly getting ready to go out. The DOK comes through in the finish but in a lot more discrete fashion than the Kintra. I feel like I’m being transported from one world to another, in one sip. This is a great experience! The finish is heavenly. Clear winner.



Conclusion


This was a very interesting experiment. Starting with my house smelling of Jamaican funk while I was letting these three breath before I started. Definitely not a bad thing.


It’s a showcase of what Hampden is able to do and the variety they can achieve. The DOK and HLCF have some similarities but are so very different at the same time. The HLCF is a much more composed, balanced, complex and old soul feeling spirit. When I say “much more composed”, I mean in a Jamaican kind of way. Because this is by no means an easy starter rum. The DOK is a happy pile of composting fruit. It’s definitely a decent sipping experience, especially in this aged version, but I still consider it better for blending than sipping.


The HLCF/DOK 2010 has more traits from HLCF than from DOK, which is a good thing imho. It strikes a very nice balance between the two. Balancing anything with DOK surely is a challenge, but this HLCF managed to tame it. I absolutely love this rum and hope Hampden will start experimenting more with blends like this, as this fluke is hitting bulls eye for me.


More people should be able to taste this impressive liquid gold. Why not add it as a true super premium to the standard lineup please?! It would diversify the portfolio and increase the overall appreciation and reputation of Hampden….not to mention sales….and….most importanly….I’d be able to have a bottle on hand all the time. :)


Scores


Velier Hampden HLCF - 88

Kintra Hampden 8 - 80

Velier HLCF/DOK 2010 - 95


Click here for info on the scoring method.

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