Talking Marques, Muck, and Dunder with Hampden Estate

One of my activities as the WIRSPA community envoy is preparing and hosting our Rum Talk series, wherein we go behind the scenes at many of the Caribbean’s iconic rum distilleries. I recently enjoyed hosting a session with Jamaica’s Hampden Estate, a perennial favorite of many rum enthusiasts.

We covered a wide range of topics in the 90-minute session; it’s well worth watching the whole thing. However, it’s valuable to highlight a few portions of particular interest and include links to additional information.


Dunder is often cited as the “mystery” ingredient used in making high-hogo Jamaican rum. It’s not so mysterious, however. This article has more information about dunder: Days of Dunder


If there is something that could legitimately be called a mystery ingredient, it’s muck. It’s a bacterial “atom bomb” that drives a secondary bacterial fermentation that creates additional esters and other volatile compounds. The aforementioned Days of Dunder article also covers muck.

Note that Kenroy also explains the difference between a “muck pit” and a “muck grave” in this section. The latter is essentially long-term storage for the muck’s bacteria.

Cane acid

Another surprising ingredient found in Jamaican rum fermentation is cane acid, which is made from fermented cane juice. This is not the same as rhum agricole, however! Here’s more information on Cane Acid: Jamaican Rum on Acid


All Jamaican distilleries make several distillate distillates with different levels of esters. Here, Kenroy describes Hampden’s marques.

Here’s a reasonably complete listing of Jamaican rum distillery marques which I maintain: Jamaican Rum Marques Roundup


Beyond the Hampden Estate session, there are many more hours of technical geeks out in our Rum Talk series, including:

The full list of sessions can be found here.

Author: Matt Pietrek

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