Jamaica – Hampden Distillery

Hampden estate is one of the oldest sugar estates in Jamaica. Renowned throughout Jamaica’s rum history for its full, intensely flavorful pot stillold sugar bin rums, it continues today to be the quintessential heavy pot rum of choice throughout Europe and other parts of the world.

Surveyed in 1743, Hampden operated as a large sugar plantation circa 1753 under the ownership of Mr. Archibald Sterling of Scotland. In 1779 Mr. Sterling built the Hampden Great House of which the ground floor served as a rum store until the early 1900s. Hampden Estate is firmly set in Jamaican history as it established the Hampden Presbyterian Church, circa 1824, the first of that denomination to be established in Jamaica.

In 1955, the old boiler house, which was located at Gales Valley on the Estate, was donated by the owners of Hampden to Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, who was then Chancellor of the UWI. She arranged for it to be dismantled, block by block. Each building stone was meticulously numbered, then transported to the Mona Campus and reassembled. It took three years to complete the task. When it was done, this beautiful Georgian building, made with finely dressed limestone from Hampden Estate, was reborn as the University Chapel, which is today considered an architectural gem.

During World War 1, Hampden constructed the Hampden Wharf in Falmouth for shipment of its sugar and rums which is today a major entry port for “The Oasis of the Seas” the worlds largest cruise ship. Additionally, the wharf facilities will now serve as a major tourist hub. The estate has donated lands for schools, housing and for many other social infrastructure uses. Post 1827 the estate came into the ownership of D.O. Kelly-Lawson who became Custos of St. James in 1875 and Justice Of The Peace of Trelawny. His daughter Ena Kelly-Lawson married a Mr. Farquharson, which on her death, inherited Hampden. The estate which is set within the famed “Queen of Spain Valley” consists of approximately 3500 acres. The Farquharson’s operated the estate producing sugar and rum until 2003 when it came under the ownership of the Jamaica Sugar Company of Jamaica. The estate is renowned for possessing the best cane lands in Jamaica producing the highest Ton Sugar from Ton Cane milled. During this time its rums were exported exclusively to Europe, England and Scotland.

In 2009, Everglades Farms Ltd. owned by the Hussey family, acquired the estate via public bid through divestment procedures of the Jamaica Sugar Company assets, owned by the Government of Jamaica. A commitment by Everglades Farm to pump some US$6.2 million (J$549.8 million) into the Long Pond and Hampden sugar estates has brought renewed hope to the people of the region and to the economy of Trelawny. The Hussey family is committed to preserving the great traditions of Hampden and to the preservation of old family business values, a necessary prerequisite given that several of Hampden’s current customers can trace their orders back in excess of 50 years.

Distillery 

Hampden Distillery is the only distillery in Jamaica that specializes exclusively in the making of Heavy Pot Still rums. It prides itself in the Art of making High Ester Rums from knowledge handed down from generation to generation using fermenters made more than a century ago. Although utilizing the latest technology and equipments to ensure product quality, Hampden’s Master Distiller and Wash Masters pride themselves in predicting the outcome of each production run making the process an art as much as a science. It is this, the long history, the retention of skills, the transference of knowledge through the generations, the preserving of tradition, the use of fermenters that allows for the right yeast interaction with the carefully blended wash materials and the unique processing of it’s Lime Salts that makes Hampden paramount in the High Ester universe of rums. Hampden do not use commercial yeast but cultures, suspends and regenerate its own. It is for this reason that Hampden is privileged with having the most loyal of customers that vote their approval via their orders decade after decade. We are proud that some of our current buyers can tell stories of their grandfathers not only buying rums from the distillery many years ago but also supplying equipment for the sugar factory and spending summers at the estate.

Hampden makes a variety of rums ranging from 50 to 1600 Esters. Orders are shipped in Liters Absolute Alcohol (LAA). The higher the ester range, the more intense the bouquet of the rum. Our rums are used extensively in the blending of other rums throughout the world. Our highest ester rums are prized by the food, flavoring and perfume industries. Currently, all rums are manufactured to order, however, Hampden does set aside certain Marks for aging.

Hampden Bulk Rums are used throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Scotland, South America, the Caribbean and in a variety of blended rums throughout North America. Hampden High Ester Rums are used extensively in Germany and Holland within the flavour and food industry. All bulk rums are sold under special licence agreement by Everglades Farms Ltd.