Few people realize through the haze of malt whisky on that booziest of holidays known as Burns Night, that Robert Burns, the Scottish playboy/poet extraordinaire who inspired the annual celebration, almost became a bookkeeper in Jamaica. In another universe, he could have been sipping fantastic rum. Or perhaps an early version of a rum cocktail. Maybe even something amazing from the Hampden Rum Estate distillery, founded in Trelawny, Jamaica, by the Stirling family, from Scotland, in 1753.
They would have been in full production by the time he arrived. Accumulating the magical muck which is part of the proprietary fermentation process that makes it so distinctive. They use only their own natural spring water, prolonged fermentation with wild indigenous yeasts, distillation in 100% pot stills, and an aging program in tropical heat which delivers a flavor profile like nothing else.
From a taste standpoint it is a voluptuous and intense tipple–courtesy of the mucky stew of wild yeasts used to make its magnificent polyphenolic esters. It’s strong notes of ripe bananas and spice on the nose, followed by bitter chocolate and toffee on the palate. All adding up to a sensory explosion in your mouth and a long, warm, smooth finish. So whether you are celebrating Burns Night with us this year, or elsewhere, perhaps raise a glass to the playboy poet and absent friends with something from the life he could have lived. One glass of rum at time.
If you’re in New York City this week, celebrate Burns Night January 24 at Hotel Chantelle on the Lower East Side, where rum, scotch and other fine spirits will be flowing in honor of the decadent Scottish holiday. Tickets are available here. Hampden Rum is distributed by PMSpirits and costs $59.99 per bottle.