Happy birthday

First if you’re asking yourself, I’m not that old (sorry if you actually are more than 35 years old), I turned 27yo a few days ago and I wanted to celebrate it with some crazy rums and share it with all of you of course.
And guess what’s the best pick for that occasion? The four oldest Hampdens released to date, obviously. It’s been a looong time that I was looking forward to try them and it wasn’t easy to gather them but finally that’s the day and let’s play the game to the end, it’s gonna be a blind tasting. I only miss the youngest and the first ’83 release from Compagnie des Indes bottled in 2017 for Asian market, unfortunately I didn’t achieve to find a sample of it.

Here’s a look at the informations we actually have about them four : They are blends from 1982 & 1983 vintages which aged in a same cask during 35 years under the continental climate. We know that actually 1983 mean HGML mark but we have no informations about 1982 so the mark of those rums remain quite mysterious, I’ll investigate that fact and write my personal thoughts about the esters level in my conclusion.
Those four bottlers had the opportunity to taste the offered casks, Corman Collins and Valinch & Mallet selected the same cask and agreed sharing it, that’s why they were bottled at exactly the same ABV.

Enough talked, here we go for the Hampden clash of the (old) titans!

Corman Collins Hampden 1983-2019 (55.3%)

Colour: Light gold.
Nose: More glue and polish than the Rum Artesanal & Kill Devil. Roasted pineapples, cake dough, bananas, candied lemons, grapefruits, vanilla, that’s complex and well balanced. Esters with a lot of complexity. We also have that acidulous side that balance the sugary one. Black olives, brine with some freshness. One of the best nose of the day for sure.
Mouth: Very nice milky texture and the alcohol integration is very nice. Pineapples leads the way, followed by vanilla, glue, bananas, black olives, sea water, light wood, vanilla sugar, very well balanced. A true high ester gentleman with a lot of complexity. Typical Hampden aromas I must say but with a lot of delicacy, time has done the job.
Finish: Looong. Vanilla cream, strawberry candies, smoke and roasted pineapples.

That’s your best friend, the one you can really count on. Very nice selection! Fortunately, I find out which were the two bottlings from the same cask in the line-up, I still have some time before retirement.

Score: 91

Valinch & Mallet Hampden 1983-2019 (55.3%, cask #19-3501R, 237 bottles)

Colour: Light gold.
Nose: More glue and polish than the Number Rum Artesanal & Kill Devil. Roasted pineapples, cake dough, bananas, candied lemons, grapefruits, vanilla, that’s complex and well balanced. Esters with a lot of class. We also have that acidulous side that balance the sugary one. Black olives, brine with some freshness. One of the best nose of the day for sure. Did you notice that’s the same description as the Corman Collins?
Mouth: Very nice milky texture and the alcohol integration is very nice. Pineapples leads the way, followed by vanilla, glue, bananas, black olives, sea water, light wood,  vanilla sugar, very well balanced. A true high ester gentleman with a lot of complexity. Typical Hampden aromas I must say but with a lot of delicacy one, time has done the job.
Finish: Looong. Vanilla cream, strawberry candies, smoke and roasted pineapples.

Exactly the same than the last one so here we are again:
That’s your best friend, the one you can really count on. Very nice selection! Fortunately, I find out which were the two bottlings from the same cask in the line-up, I still have some time before retirement.

Score: 91

Kill Devil Hampden 1983-2019 (58.1%, 198 bottles)

Colour: Light gold.
Nose: The alcohol integration could’ve been a bit better this time. We’ve nearly the same aromas than the first. It took also more time to open up and show his true personality but now I can smell it. He seems to be more ester-y and a bit less balanced. Acidulous and exotic fruits leads the way. Bananas, pineapples, brine, black olives, white peaches, sardines and some spices.
Mouth: Nice oily texture but it’s a bit more astringent than the first one. Ripe pineapples, candied lemons, bananas, it’s a bit more woody than the others and more spiced as well. We have ripe papayas, mangoes, herbal notes, hay, less pleasant and balanced mouth than the others grandpas. 
Finish: Long, bitter and slightly drying. Vanilla, thick smoke and some roasted notes.

I enjoyed a bit less this one because it has some little flaws, that’s great but I expect more from that range of product, too bad.

Score: 88

Rum Artesanal Hampden 1983-2019 (58.9%, cask #6, 322 bottles)

Colour: Light gold.
Nose: Ester-y but with sweetness and delicacy. There’s some acidulous fruits that balances the candied ones. Very well balanced and pleasant nose. Lemons, ripe bananas, candied pineapples, black olives, anchovy, cake dough, brine, vinegar, pineapple candies and some fresh herbal notes. Where is the wood gone exactly? Gourmand is the right word, one more time…
Mouth: Fruits are still acidulous with granny smith apples, lemons, ripe and roasted pineapples, some drop of vinegar, very classy and refined, HGML is a credible lead. Butter, vanilla, cake dough, pastries, grilled sardines, brine, bananas, green olives, pineapple candies, and some light smoke in the background. That’s very easy to sip and accessible, far away from the extreme high ester profiles.
Finish: Long and refined. Candied lemons, oranges, roasted pineapples, butter, cake dough, and some burnt wood.

The first I tasted and my favorite of the day. I’m really surprised because it was the most easy to find into that quartet. Very nice selection!

Score: 92

What a huge tasting! I shared it with my good friend Loris and it was a true pleasure, such a high level we’ve got in our glasses today. Thanks Quentin & Arthur for sharing that kind of rarity with us.
After facing them with a ’90 C<>H I can clearly say that’s lower in ester level but not that much, so my opinion is that they’re HGML. Cheers!

Discover those rums on the RumX app
Corman Collins Hampden 1983-2019
Valinch & Mallet Hampden 1983-2019
Kill Devil Hampden 1983-2019
Rum Artesanal Hampden 1983-2019

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