Hampden HGML 2010 Habitation Velier 9 Year Old
Velier was founded by Casimir Chaix in Genoa in 1947 as a wine and spirits importer and distributor. By the 1980s they were still a small family-company with less than ten staff. This all changed in 1986 when it was purchased by Luca Gargano, a former brand ambassador for Saint James who was at the time still in his twenties. Under his direction, they selected their first single cask whiskies in 1992, and their first rum in 1996. In the decades that followed, Velier have gone on to become one of the most collectible brands in the industry, and Gargano has positioned them as the one of the foremost authorities and bottlers of rum anywhere in the world.
More than just a bottler of rum, Luca Gargano is considered a visionary in the cane spirits industry, even developing his own classification for different styles of rum in 2015. Many distilleries have since adopted this. Among the classifications is "pure single rum," which denotes a spirit produced on pot stills at a single distillery. This Habitation Velier range is a celebration of these rums "which best expresses the raw material and the know-how of the distiller."
HGML, as this bottle is labelled, is a Hampden distillery cask mark identifying a rum with 600-770 esters. Distilled in 2010, this was fully matured for 9 years at the Jamaican distillery and bottled in 2019.
The Hampden Estate was founded in 1753 by a Scotsman called Archibald Sterling, in the Queen of Spain valley of Jamaica’s Trelawny parish. For 250 years it remained family owned, selling rum to third-party blenders and independent bottlers. Mismanagement however meant that by 2003 it was in financial trouble, with the Jamaican government stepping in to assume ownership and some of its debt in order to preserve the jobs of its employees. They sold it in 2009 to the Hussey family’s Everglades Farms, who as first point of business began laying down the casks that would eventually become the first Hampden Estate labelled official bottling of the distillery’s rum, launched in collaboration with Velier in 2018. Famed for its heavy, ester-driven style, Hampden is joined by Worthy Park as the only two Jamaican distilleries that produce exclusively pure single rums (using only pot stills). It currently has four pot stills: two from Forsyths in Scotland, one from Vendome in Kentucky, and another from T&T Engineering in South Africa.