Hampden Estate produces unique, funky, high-ester rums. The distillery, located in the Trelawny Parish in Jamaica, is one of the oldest in the Caribbean.
Hampden Estate has been producing rums via the same methods for close to three centuries. While others have closed temporarily or permanently, the distillery has been in continuous operation since 1753.
During its long history, the estate has changed hands many times. The Stirling family were the first owners in 1753. One century later, George McFarquhar Lawson bought the distillery and advanced production methods considerably. Hampden was owned by the Lawson family until 2002 when it was bought by the Jamaican government. Seven years later, the Hussey family took control of the distillery and made the decision to age rum on site. In 2018, Hampden Estate – historically only produced and sold in bulk – was bottled and exported for the first time.
Hampden Estate is famous for its use of spring water, extremely long fermentations with wild yeast, discontinuous distillation and tropical ageing.
The distillery only uses water from its own collection system, which returns clean water after use. Fermentation in cone-shaped wooden vats that rest on wooden floors and walkways can last anywhere between eight and 15 days.
The Jamaican estate owns four pot stills. The oldest, John Dore, has been in operation since 1960 and can contain 7,560 litres. The Vendome, Forsyth and South African stills all hold 18,900 litres and were installed in 1994, 2010 and 2016 respectively.
Hampden Estate has developed a cult following for its high ester, funky styles – many of which weren’t intended for sale. The distillery produces two core rums: Hampden Estate 46 and Hampden Overproof 60. These are aged for eight and seven years respectively in the tropics. Due to the climate, almost three times as much liquid is lost to the angels than in Europe. The distillery does not add any sugar or caramel to its rums.