The Hampden Blogger

Welcome to the Hampden Blogger, we hope that this feature will allow you to learn more about us and what we do. Your comments are important and allows us to better serve both our visitors, as well as our industry partners. Thank you.

Andrew & Outram Hussey

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pure Single Rums, Authentic Manufacturing and the "Guardians of Rum"

For rum lovers wanting that exquisite pure rum, having esters to affect the pleasure senses and having that extra smooth effect over palate, Hampden Single Rums delivers.

A recollection of events in the early years when the Hussey Family bought Hampden Distillery and the progressive moves toward the recognition of pure rums.

At Hampden, what is real rum? It is Rum that is pure, single, developed by artisans with the highest in fidelity as they remain faithful and loyal to the development of high quality, traditional rums, taken directly from stills without additives and enhancers to create a product of exquisite distinction, taste and affecting the senses in ways impossible by lesser creations.

While many enter the rum arena today with fancy labels, names, marketing hype and claims, we need to remember that many enter to follow the money, the notoriety or to be caught up in the moment. What we need to recognized, however, is that as we search for what is truly authentic, we quickly discover that the road to authenticity leads only to a few locations on the planet. Many of these have been around for hundreds of years, and one, Hampden, has been making rum using the same methods for more than 250 years with many select wood fermenters more than a century old.

Some years ago when the Hussey family bought Hampden, what was astonishing to find was that there were many rum buyers the world over that were still sending their orders to the distillery, although temporarily off-line at the time. I remember a backlog of orders and found many competitors contacting buyers to capitalize on its rumored closure. Buyers refused to relinquish their orders with Hampden, this loyalty was so profound that at the time, we figured there could only be one solution which resulted in Andrew Hussey and myself visiting with each of our buyers in Europe to inform them personally that their orders would be met. There, they explained the long association with Hampden, that their grandfathers would spend summers at the estate and that they would send parts for the sugar factory to ensure continued production. They were thrilled that another old-line family with strong loyalties to tradition had taken control of the distillery.

This was when Andrew and I became aware of the history, tradition and especially loyalty that rum buyers had for Hampden. One of these buyers traced their company’s trading in the West Indies back 300 years. These were buyers that knew rum, knew quality, knew authenticity and knew what it took to produce such rums. They were also convinced that they could get it nowhere else. In the universe of rums, Hampden stood supreme. We also came to discover that the buyers literally rushed to the still for the rum resulting in Hampden having little need to age rums. We later decided to utilize facilities of the old Sugar Factory to commence barreling and ageing of each of Hampdens special Marks.

Once Hampden’s retail rums entered the market (some directly from the stills) they began an aggressive and continuous collection of medals throughout the world. At the time, I remember introducing Ms.Christelle Harris (Grand Daughter of Ruth & Laurie Hussey) at one of our Board meetings as the New Director of Marketing. She was pursuing a promising career in acting and dancing and resided in Los Angeles at the time. I encouraged her to commit to the challenge and she accepted, wow, we were all so excited. Christelle is an absolutely lovable, kind and caring individual and works constantly, powered by sheer passion. I had also mentioned in an earlier post where I featured her as the reason for much of Hampden's success. Since that time Christell has attended numerous shows, conventions, tastings etc. all across the USA and Europe and there she met with many rum lovers with a passion for authentic rums as well as other distillery owners making great single rums. Subsequently, the “Guardians of Rum” movement was conceived during a visit of Luca Gargano of Velier and Richard Seale of Foursquare to Hampden Distillery where they met with Christelle Harris/Hussey Family in early 2016. You may ask, What is the Guardians of Rum?

What “The Guardians of Rum” IS about:

  • Promoting artisanal over industrial scale – something already inherent in the law of the EU for whisky and Brandy.
  • Distinguishing traditional methods over modern (20th century) developments – the kind of changes forbidden in EU law for many other spirits but have occurred for better or worse in rum.
  • Promoting transparent age statements over sleight of hand – something already required by law in the EU/USA but not enforced in rum.
  • Promoting pure rum over doctored rum (added wine, flavourings etc) – something already required by EU law but poorly enforced.
  • Celebrating rum’s diversity – but a diversity from the sugar cane not a suite of flavours in the hands of a “master blender.”
What “The Guardians of Rum” is NOT about:
  • Arguing between countries about the ‘definition of rum’ – it is normal for spirits to have different definitions, e,g. American v Scotch Whisky – what is important is the law where it is sold and recognition of a GI where applicable.
  • Demanding uniformity. The greatest diversity is found in the producers who adhere to all of the above principles.
The Guardians of Rum issues an Insignia of membership which is not given, rather, it has to be earned.

We are therefore very pleased to see this collaboration among some of the world’s foremost distillers, distributors and rum lovers to authenticate the manufacture of true and pure rums ensuring quality and heightening of that true taste experience.

Andrew Hussey and Outram Hussey receiving
their “Guardians of Rum” Insignia from Christelle Harris.

By:  Outram J. Hussey

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