Saturday, February 26, 2022

Hampton Estates Distillery

      It has been a long time since I've been able to travel to the islands for a visit.  This is my first trip to a Jamaican distillery ever.  Hampton Estate Sugar Plantation is a great place to visit and learn about the fine art of making the true Jamaican high ester rums.   

     The roads into the estate is an adventure all its own   leaving Ocho Rios, you start out on very nice freeway-like roads, but when you make the first turn on to a "parish" local road you begin to see what is ahead for you.   The appearance of "pot holes" begins and you still enjoy the smooth asphalt, but you get to weave around and avoid them.  soon as the potholes become larger and deeper you swerve around looking for the asphalt and finally as you turn on to the road the says "rum tour" you are just looking to avoid the potholes because it is now a dirt road. 

     Once you arrive at the estate, the roads are still dirt, but they are palm tree
lined and smooth.  The estate is really beautiful, an oasis carved out of the wilderness.  The Great House is amazing along with the grounds surrounding it.

     Upon arriving you are greeted very warmly and given an awesome Rum Fire punch.  The tour begins with an interesting lecture about the history of Jamaica and the sugar plantation.  From there you are taken for a walk around the grounds of the Great House and into the distillery.  It becomes very clear that this place has been making rum for a very long time.  The fermentation method is very interesting, giving me a much better understanding of how that very unique flavor that is Jamaican Rum is accomplished.  No, they wouldn't show me the "Muck Pit" that is a secret place that no visitor is allowed to see.  The same with the fermentation building, they only let us see certain parts of it.  

     Once the fermentation and the aging of the wash is completed it is pumped into a holding tank until it is transfered to the still for distilling.  The finished rum is then processed and either bottled or shipped to the port for export.  Their primary product is unaged bulk rum sent all over the world.  The rest is barreled in once used Jack Daniel's barrels for the resting until ready to bottle.  All of the rum that they bottle and sell is overproof at 61% ABV or 122 proof.   I purchased a bottle of their "Hampton Estate Single Jamaican Rum Overproof"

   I'm very familiar with their Rum Fire because it is distributed in the United States by Dr. Nicolas Feris, a close friend and fellow rum geek here in the United States.  Nick has brought Rum Fire to be on of the better known "overproof" rums here in the states.  The rum is in direct competition with Wray and Nephew Overproof, another gem created in Jamaica.  

     I'd like to thank Christelle Harris and all  of the staff at Hampton Estates for making my visit such and informative and fun one.  This is a must see for anyone that is interested in rum and how it becomes the special beverage that you enjoy so much.