Distilleries often have different production methods to produce disparate types of spirit expressions. Each recipe and production method that produces a different final distillate is called a mark and distilleries often have several of these. Hampden Estate in Jamaica produces eight distinct marks – most of which go back decades.
The 8 Marks Collection produced in conjunction with La Maison & Velier USA lets consumers be able to directly compare Hampden’s eight marks side by side by side. The large box contains 200ml bottles of each mark, plus a handy reference sheet for the distillery and for each mark. Noteworthy are all the precise details about wash components, fermentation time and type, chemical compounds, and more. Each is presented at 60% ABV, so needless to say flavor won’t be lacking, and with all of these being unaged you can taste them without the variability that aging in barrels can provide.
I obtained mine at a tasting event where we received the kits and were led through the details. Most of Hamdpden’s expressions are high on the ester scale, up to DOK at 1600gr/hLPA and the highest the Jamaican government allows. But all of these are funk bombs to a greater or lesser degree. Even after going through seven of these I really did feel that DOK was a different beast.
The variability of these expressions is noticeable and interesting. HLCF (the basis for Rum Fire) is probably the most complex and rich, despite being in the middle of the ester scale. More esters does not necessarily mean better, that’s for sure. In my tasting, I liked rare C<>H mark the best.
The 8 Marks collection is available in some retail locations already, with more to come soon. Price varies from around $150 and up. This isn’t a super limited release, but Hampden says this won’t be an annual release – though a version of this tasting kit with the marks aged for one year is coming in 2024.
For a more in-depth look at this collection, I encourage you watch this video from our friend Arminder.