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Rum Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 7-Year

Hamilton St. Lucian 7-Year Pot Still Rum Review

Hamilton Saint Lucian Pot Still Rum

If you know rum, you probably know Ed Hamilton. He’s the (very tall, ponytailed) guy behind the Ministry of Rum Web site—a place where I have personally learned a lot about rum. In addition to importing the iconic overproof rum Lemon Hart 151 and rhums agricoles such as Neisson and La Favorite, Ed has launched his own line of hand-selected rums from St. Lucia and Jamaica called the Ministry of Rum Collection.

In launching the Ministry of Rum Collection, Ed has maintained a level of transparency that is unique in the spirits world. You can even enter the batch number of your bottle on his Web site to learn all the relevant details of your rum, from the still it was made in right down to the shipping manifest. Nothing has been added, save for water and in the case of the Jamaican expressions, a bit of caramel color (from burnt sugar).

There are currently ten different expressions in the line, of which I was lucky enough to receive five to sample. Today we’ll be looking at the Saint Lucian 7-Year Pot Still Rum, which is bottled at 46.5% ABV (93 US proof).

Let’s get to it!

Like all of the marques in the line, the Saint Lucian 7-Year arrives in an upright brown bottle with a plastic-topped synthetic cork closure. The label depicts the island, the batch number, and the year it was distilled (2006 in this case). The batch number is 813-793. This rum was distilled in a Vendome pot still, placed in an American oak barrel and shipped to New York for bottling.

In the glass, the rum presents as a dark copper bronze with flashes of gold. A swirl of the snifter produces a razor-thin line atop the glass, from which a few beads begrudgingly descend after about thirty seconds.

The nose of this rum makes me do a double-take. It’s got a grassy funk that I typically don’t associate with St. Lucian rum—just what do we have here? The fresh, earthy, and slightly phenolic aromas are attenuated by charred oak and a host of fruits: banana, lemon and orange. There is a dose of spice as well, but at this point, I’m unable to detect any individual spices. Let’s taste…

The rum enters with a kick of heat and spice: there is cinnamon, black pepper, and a bit of white pepper. After the heat dies down, I notice my palate has been coated by oaky tannins. With my palate adjusted to the spirit, I can now detect the fruits I found on nosing: banana, lemon, some bitter orange and now a hint of pear and kiwi. The finish is fairly long—the fruit quickly losing out to big notes of cinnamon and pepper, supported by an earthy base of leather and tobacco.

This spirit really confounded me, and it took me a few days (and about half the bottle) to come to terms with what I had here. For me, this rum says “dispense with your preconceived notions about rum prior to tasting”. It tastes more like an aged agricole than your typical molasses-based rum: earthy, spicy, and dry. It may not be what I was expecting, but I certainly enjoyed it thoroughly.

On to the scores:

  • Appearance 1/1
  • Aroma 1.75/2
  • Mouth feel 1/1
  • Taste 3.75/4
  • Aftertaste 2/2
  • Total 9.5/10

Buy Hamilton St. Lucia Online

11 Comments leave one →
  1. quazi permalink
    December 16, 2013 6:13 pm

    I have the 8 year @46.5 % and the cask strength 9 year. I think the 9 year is incredible, whether at cask strength or diluted down. I have sampled the 8 year 46.5% several times since obtaining it and it is just not to my liking. Neither the aroma or the taste is appealing. Will you be reviewing any others in the line anytime soon?

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      December 16, 2013 10:51 pm

      Will be reviewing the other four I have as time allows! Cheers

  2. December 17, 2013 7:17 am

    Nice to finally see a review on this rum. Your profile is intriguing, particularly your observations that this rum displayed cane juice qualities.

    You’ve also raised the issue of transpency in labeling/marketing, which is quite valid, in that there is so little transparency. You’ve set a high bar for Hamilton though, when you say “Ed has maintained a level of transparency that is unique in the spirits world”.

    You also note that by entering the bottle’s batch number, that you are transferred to a page with all these alleged details. Are we? Not really. All you will learn on this page is that the rum is a blend of four barrels of rum wholesaled and shipped from St. Lucia. We learn nothing of these barrels beyond their barrel number (eg #443-12-03). An age and a proof is stated. In sum we know it’s a blend, its claimed age and its proof.

    This is hardly different or unique from most rums.

    We were very intrigued though by your observation that “Nothing has been added, save for water and in the case of the Jamaican expressions, a bit of caramel color”. If true, this would indeed be special, but only if so claimed and/or appearing on the label. For example Panamonte XXV Reserva ($400) states “There are no additives, colorings or other barrels used”. Diplomatico Ambassador ($312) similarly and clearly states “…”…no sweetener, caramel or other additives…(and) no chill filtering”. Pretty impressive.

    Since Hamilton’s site makes no mention of additives, coloring or filtering, on what do you rely? Are there any statements on the back label? And speaking of the label, Hamilton once promised that the following would appear on his labels…

    Raw Material
    Fermentation ABV
    Date Distilled
    Distillation ABV
    Barrel Number
    Date Barrel Filled
    Barrel Volume
    Barrel ABV
    Date Barrel Emptied
    Barrel ABV

    That was mighty impressive and if true, would justify the claim of unique transparency. These were promised, but which if any of these actually appear? So far the information given is rather typical, though to be fair the profile remains intriguing…

    Best wishes for a happy holiday…

    • Dan permalink
      December 20, 2013 9:06 am

      Actually, Cap’n Crunch, if you bothered to *read* the page that Josh directs you to (which is this one: http://caribbean-spirits.com/labeldetails.php?id=63), you’ll find that a lot of the information you asked for is right there…you just have to, I don’t know, take the time and effort to read it. In answer to your questions, no, there is no photo of the back label, but it is stated in at least two places on that page that there are no additives (caramel colouring, flavouring, etc.) in the rum. Further, if you scrolled down, you’d also see a description of the raw materials – molasses from Guyana containing at least 65% dissolved sugar; the type of wood used in the barrels – second use American oak; the distillation ABV prior to barreling – 82%, diluted to 70%.

      We also know, from the scanned copy of the shipping manifest that is available, what the ABV of the barrels was prior to dilution, and the volume (in L) contained in each barrel prior to dilution, and there is a lab analysis certificate certifying the quality of the water used for dilution.

      Not entirely sure what your problem with Ed Hamilton is, but perhaps you should take it up with him and not have it out with bloggers who just happen to review the rum that he produced.

  3. December 20, 2013 10:35 am

    Dan thanks for a very informative post, which properly makes me the foole, er idiot, er Compleat Idiot of rum, as my dear friend Ed is always wont to remind us, lol.

    Thanks very much for answering the questions I posed. My stupid error? Not paging down, which was not required on any of the bottler’s long represented Martiniquean cane juice rums I checked first, which included: Duquesne: Blanc, Eleve Sous Bois; La Favorite: Blanc, Ambre and Viex; and Neisson: Blanc 50, 52.5 and 70, Eleve Sous Bois, Reserve Speciale, 15 year and 18 year. All of these 12 rums are presented in typical summary fashion and were described on roughly a single page, ergo my dumb ass error. None of these twelve required a “Page Down”.

    The opening page on this rum simply looked like all the other one-page descriptions, and included the information upon which I mistakenly relied. A paging error, my apologies. At least I retained brain cells enough to ask questions for confirmation, which you have so well answered. Hamilton deserves sincere kudo’s for providing this information. Bravo! More distillers and bottlers should do so. Paging aside, I was and remain intrigued by Josh’s reported profile…

    Thanks again for your comments. And that’s Capn Crunch, Sir!

    ***********
    Special Note:

    Having paged down, let’s try to answer all of the questions posed:

    1. How did Hamilton do on his promises?

    Raw Material – molasses (which we already knew)
    Fermentation ABV: not provided
    Date Distilled: not provided
    Distillation ABV: 82%
    Barrel Number: given, 5 barrels
    Date Barrel Filled: not given
    Barrel Volume: given
    Barrel ABV: unclear.
    Date Barrel Emptied: not given

    Score: only 4 of 9 promised, or 44%. To be corrected by Dan. Although the site states the barrels were filled at 70%, they were shipped at around 63%. This is possible, so Hamilton gets credit for this one.

    2. The most important question though remains: does this rum contain additives, flavoring or coloring?

    Answer: we don’t know. The website makes clear only that no “flavoring or color” was added (after filtering) by the bottler. The statement is made “There was no caramel color or flavoring of any kind added to this rum.”; however in context this statement was made in concluding the latter section which was devoted to what occurred, in order, at and by the bottler. I want to assume this statement means no flavoring was added by the distiller, but that remains unclear.

    Equally of importance, and also completely unaddressed is the issue of additives: glycerol, smoothers and the like, even non-coloring caramel.

    Bottom line: even so, Hamilton has released more information than most, to his credit. I’d urge him to go all the way and provide the rest of the information promised, including a completely clear and encompassing statement on additives, flavoring and coloring of any kind, at any time in the process.

    Serious fans would want to know more about the raw material, eg grade of molasses, yeast, fermentation time, et al. Distillation at 82% remains high compared to many pot stilled products. Even so, sincere kudo’s for now… Good on him.

    Again thanks for pointing out my grievous but unintended error. Carry on…

  4. January 24, 2014 2:15 pm

    Had the chance to try the Jamaicans at San Antonio Cocktail Conference. Really good stuff. I’d like to try this expression as well.

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      January 24, 2014 4:25 pm

      The SACC looked like a blast, you lucky dog! Have to say this is my favorite out of the ones I’ve tried.

      • January 24, 2014 5:58 pm

        It was, Ed showed us just how much coloring effects taste. We even got some bottles of the color to take. The classes were definitely my favorite part.

  5. December 12, 2016 3:13 pm

    Now it’s 2016 and I just bought a bottle of this rum for U.S. $48. The label looks identical. Same date (2006), 7 year aged, but the ABV is 63.8%. Have you any updates to your review? Thanks and merry Christmas!

Trackbacks

  1. New Rum Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 7-Year | Inu a Kena
  2. Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 2006 rum – Ruminations

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