Rum Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 7-Year
Hamilton St. Lucian 7-Year Pot Still Rum Review
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