Hamilton St. Lucia 2006 7 Year Old Pot Still Rum

Hamilton SLU 7YO 46%.007

Product of:  Distilled on St. Lucia, bottled in USA
Aged:  7 Years
Price:  $45 (SRP)
Alcohol: 46.5% ABV 
Sugar: 0 g/L
Context:  Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 8

Tasting Notes
A heady pot still bouquet wafts in the air as I sit contemplating this eccentric rum.  No coloring agents were added, so the rum’s light golden amber hue comes solely from seven years aging in oak barrels.  Swirling produces a tremendously active array of fast running legs, then several linger on the sides of the tasting glass, further exciting the spirit’s volatile aromas.

It’s amazing how true to the insides of a wet rum barrel this blend smells.  To this aficionado of pot still rum, the scent of wet oak-alchol-sulphur is powerfully refreshing.  Mind, this is no delicate beast, just an honest if still edgy one.  Though certainly not over-oaked, the aromas are heavy with old wet leather, overripe tropical fruit (banana, papaya) and nutmeg spice.  More subtle scents of larded flour pastry, coconut shell and phenols round out the more immediate notes.  

On initial taste, the flour pastry sensation comes full force, delivering flavors like a thick crust caramelized apple turnover with a dash of cinnamon.  A medium weight body delivers greater palate heft than the near overproof 46.5% ABV would lead to expect, ending reasonably smooth and slightly dry leaving a slight white pepper on the tongue.

Anecdotes 
The 2006 St. Lucia 7 Year Old rum from the Ministry of Rum Collection by Ed Hamilton is a blend of rums distilled in copper pot stills at St. Lucia Distillers Ltd.

Ed Hamilton believes transparency in rum production is a virtue.  Visit his Ministry of Rum website, enter Batch No. 813-793 to learn more about this rum.  As an example: “The molasses used at St Lucia Distillers was sourced from Guyana and contained 65% dissolved sugar, one of the highest sugar contents of any molasses found in the Caribbean. The high sugar content is attributed to the age of the Guyanese sugar mill.”

The Vendome,  John Dore I and II copper pot stills astand proud, ready to produce tasty rum at St. Lucai Distillers.

St. Lucia Distillers Ltd, uses four stills at it’s facility; a continuous column still, one Vendome pot still and two John Dore pot stills.  This distillate came off the pot stills at approximately 82% ABV, low enough to preserve plenty of robust flavor.  It is then briefly stored in large tanks and blended with other pot-still rum batches.  From there, the unaged spirit is diluted to approximately 70% ABV before being laid down to mature in once-used American oak barrels.

Ed Hamilton
… Is a modern pioneer of rum, the man who singlehandedly discovered and brought countless Caribbean rums to our attention.  His two books published in the 1990’s – Rums of the Eastern Caribbean and The Complete Guide to Rum: A Guide to Rums of the World – were written while Ed was Island hopping throughout the Caribbean, sailing solo and visiting every distillery.  Many of those old world distilleries are no longer in operation, and Hamilton’s books are long out of print.  

Early in the 21st Century, Ed careened his sailboat on terra firma for repairs and began importing rhums agricole from the French West Indies.  Notable brands including Neisson, La Favorite and Duquesne from Martinique have made progress toward educating Americans on the finer points of this unique style of rum.  in 2013, Hamilton began importing pot-still heavy rums from St. Lucia and Jamaica under his own label.

Some of his explorations survive in writings and photographs at the Ministry of Rum website.  The Rum Gallery is perhaps the closest current equivalent to Hamilton’s books and his discovery of rums by sailing.  Ed has influenced many of us, getting us started in our careers exploring the art of rum.  Respect and gratitude, Mr.Hamilton.

Opinion 
The 2006 St. Lucia 7 Year Old Pot Still rum from the Ministry of Rum Collection by Ed Hamilton is a tight blend of pot still rums displaying all the character of the copper pot stills and five oak barrels it was blended from.  It’s not everybody’s tot, nor is it intended to be.  Ed’s been around too long for that.  He’s visited more distilleries than you and I combined ever will and drank way more than his share of great rums (and less-than-great rums too).  If I can deliver a personal note to Ed Hamilton: Please sir, continue bringing us more of these single-minded pure rums.  Enough of us will seek them out, and a few more  risk takers might be emboldened to follow you lead.  

Reviewed:  A sample from Batch No. 813-793, bottled August 2013, was evaluated during February 2015 at The Rum Gallery tasting room, USA. 


© Dave Russell 2017