Samaroli & Hampden, those two words together are enough to make turn lot of heads and make people crazy… But we need to go further.
As you could read in my previous article, I wasn’t blown up by the recent Samaroli stuff. This Jamaican trio is another proof of a huge change in the brand because that’s the first time we see Samaroli bottle for anyone (Cavavin Belval in this case). Two of them are youngsters and we actually know that the casks don’t come from the Silvano’s stock anymore.
Honestly while considering those factors, my expectations about them were not the highest ever and I’m pretty sure that they also didn’t want to aim at the high-end Hampdens but rather offer three different marks in a same box, that’s a great idea!
With that as background, now let’s have a closer look to them. The two youngsters were aged less than 10 years, they wear LROK and <>H marks respectively, then we have the first HLCF mark from the 2001 vintage (actually all of them were <>H).
We don’t have more informations about the continental/tropical part of ageing. One thing is sure, Samaroli kept the no-informations-policy introduced by Silvano maaany years ago. (kidding)
Samaroli Jamaica LROK 2012-2021 (60%, 236 bottles)
Nose: Quite surprising! The typical Hampden notes made room for more Barbados/Belize-like ones. There’s a slight alcoholic peak that disturb me a bit. Corn flakes, caramel, mangoes, candied lemons and pineapples, glue, marzipan, vanilla, coconuts, orange peels and nutmeg. Too bad there’s no word in English to say “gourmand”, right?
Mouth: Nice thick texture. We have something close to the nose profile with some extras. Apple cider, pears, metallic and woody notes close to the Port Mourant ones, green bananas, papayas, mangoes, chilies, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, roasted coconuts, glue, brown sugar and cocoa. I’m pretty sure there’s a part of tropical ageing in those 8 years.
Finish: Mid-long. Dark chocolate, peppermint, some smoke, vanilla and almonds.
An atypical LROK I’d say. This one remembers me the Jamaican blend who stayed 2 years in ex-Belize cask from WST&HF. It’s clearly young, but I enjoyed it.
Samaroli Jamaica HLCF 2001-2021 (55%, 250 bottles)
Colour: Light gold.
Nose: The alcoholic integration could have been a bit better but it’s better than the first one. We’re back in the typical Hampden notes with bananas, pineapples, polish, marzipan, candied lemons, glue, grains, fresh paint, mangoes, some burning chunk of wood and eucalyptus freshness. Rather typical nose.
Mouth: It has an oily texture but it’s more light-bodied than expected, the mouthfeel is close to watery even if it hasn’t been reduced. The exotic fruits are more candied there. This is a bit too astringent. Candied pineapples and lemons, mangoes, chilies and ginger. The mouth is quite monolothic and lacks of complexity over that sweetness.
Finish: Mid-long. Burnt wood, thick smoke, vanilla cream, canon powder, glue and roasted pineapples.
Quite typical profile with a slightly disappointing mouth, too bad for the first of a kind.
Samaroli Jamaica <>H 2011-2021 (62%, 247 bottles)
Nose: Jamaican funkyness with a bunch of exotic fruits! I feel we actually grind ester levels. The alcohol integration is pretty good. Pineapples, bitter oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, a good dose of glue, marzipan, vinegar, green olive tapenade and grilled sardines. The best nose of the trio for sure.
Mouth: Nice oily texture despite of his young age. The mouth is a bit too astringent as well. It’s evolutive with a sweet start, it become stronger then. Mix of candied and ripe pineapples, candied lemons, mangoes, caramelized olives, peach jam, glue, polished wood and some candied fruits.
Finish: Long. Light smoke, candied fruits, vanilla cream, bubblegum and vanilla sugar.
My favorite of the trio with his little flaws. That’s a funky young continental Hampden.
I never have been blown up by so young continental Hampdens and those won’t change my mind, but the LROK has an interesting atypical profile and the <>H has the Jamaican soul, great!
However I’m a bit disappointed by this 2001… The best value for money seems to be the 2012 LROK (reminder we don’t consider it in our scores).
So now, what’s next?
Thanks Alain for the samples & the picture. Cheers!