Habitation Velier: Hampden LROK

Today’s (shortish) review is of another Habitation Velier offering, this time from Hampden distillery in Jamaica. It’s an unaged rum, bottled in 2018 at high proof 62.5%, which I picked up for €46 over at Excellence Rhum. It’s a 100% pot still rum with an ester count of 350gr/hlpa – this is the reason behind the tag LROK, the label Hampden attach to their distillate with an ester count of 300-400gr/hlpa and it stands for Light Rum Owen Kelly.
Owen Kelly might be a reference to one of the early sugar planters of Hampden Great House, a Dermot Owen Kelly-Lawson who became its owner around 1827.
It’s worth noting that the highest ester marque produced by Hampden (indeed, the highest count allowed for export at 1600gr/hlpa) is DOK – Dermot Owen Kelly-Lawson. More on Hampden (and Jamaica’s MANY other fantastic distilleries) another time.

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Habitation Velier: Privateer

I am excited to be trying this one. Privateer rums in Massachusetts has gained something of a cult following in the US with their unfiltered, unadulterated rums – particularly for their Distiller’s Drawer, single cask offerings, of which they now have 105 listed on their website and I’ve been able to get ahold of precisely….none. I’m not jealous, you are.
Enter Velier. February of this year they selected some casks and have just released them under their Habitation label. Some luck on my part meant that I was able to get a bottle on release day from LMDW for just over £90 and it turned up last week.
President and Head Distiller of Privateer, Maggie Campbell has an awe-inspiring resume; aside from previously working as the assistant distiller at Germain-Robin (a Californian brandy distillery), she also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Craft Spirit Association and has the role of Judging Director for their annual spirits competition. She’s well worth a follow on Instagram under her superhero name, @halfpintmaggie.

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