Hamilton St. Lucia 2006 7 Year Old Cask Strength Pot Still Rum

MoR St. Lucia Cask Strength 2006 7 Year Old-RG1

Product of:  St. Lucia, bottled in USA
Aged:  7 Years
Price:  $50 
Alcohol: 63.8% ABV 
Sugar: 0 g/L
Context:  Overproof Rum
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes 
In general, well-aged cask strength rums should show a darker natural color than the diluted versions which are brought back to their original color by adding caramel.  That doesn’t affect the flavor if only enough caramel is added to restore its original out-of-cask color. Hamilton St. Licia 2007 cask Strength rum shows the medium-dark amber color imparted by the oak cask.  Pour then swirl, and long, supermodel-thin legs form and streak forever on the sides of your tasting glass.  

A dense bouquet wafts from the bottle, spreading heaps of pot still dunder smells around the room.  Take a sniff and you’ll experience some of the astringent bite of a high ABV spirit, but we always want our alcohol aroma to be pleasant, and this rum’s is.  There is abundant oak, mild waxy tannins tannins and phenolic, vanilla, butter, old shoe leather, mild anise and nutmeg.  The aromas are a complex mix, and very pleasing to the nose.  

Tasting brings very smooth, toasted oak and pot still flavors to full of the forefront, joined by a more potent anise/licorice flavor so characteristic of a nicely aged rhum agricole, yet delivered here in a molasses-based rum.  The flavors ride accross your tongue like the aftershocks of a small earthquake.  There's little segue joining the flavors, instead they appear as lumps in a sequence.  Adding some water softens and sweetens the rum, and expands its flavors.  Tasting Hamilton’s St. Luca Cask Strength 7 Year Old rum is the sensory equivalent of knawing on a rum-soaked oak barrel stave - pure rum candy.  The body is medium-light, and you wouldn’t expect to find a heavier  feel from a high proof spirit, given the lower density of alcohol vs. water.  The rum finishes long and dry, with charred oak and just enough burn and viscosity in the throat to let you know you’re dealing with high-proof poit-still rum.

Anecdotes 
The 2006 St. Lucia 7 Year Old Cask Strength rum from the Ministry of Rum Collection by Ed Hamilton is …
A. an overproof we’ve been waiting for (whether we knew it or not)
B. incredibly cool and flavorful
C. such a great idea, it took a Rum Pioneer to bring it.
D. All of the above

The obvious answer is D - All of the above.  Ed Hamilton is a leader in pushing for transparency among rum producers.  Enter the batch number of one the Hamilton rums in his Ministry of Rum website and you’ll likely be presented with more information than you understand: chemical analysis, bills of lading, production volumes etc.  Inquiring about the rum reviewed here reveals:  “Aged 7 years in cask #138-5-03 in Saint Lucia at Saint Lucia Distillers Ltd. The barrel was shipped to the US for bottling straight from the barrel.”  Also shown s sa map of St. Lucia, photos of the copper pot still, aging barrels, the bottling line, etc.  Hamilton’s disclosure ensure you know what kind of rum your buying.  Pictured at right is St. Lucia's Vendome copper pot still (photo courtesy of Mike Streeter).  Learn more about the distillery at RumConnection.com.

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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 Matahari solo and visiting every distillery.  Many of those old world distilleries are no longer in operation, Hamilton’s books are long out of print, and Matahari sank off Antigua.

By the early 21st Century, Ed hauled his second sailboat Triton onto 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, encouraging us to embark on our careers exploring the art of rum.  Respect and gratitude, Mr. Hamilton.

Opinion 
Well aged, mature, 100% pot-distilled and high-proof :  the 2006 St. Lucia 7 Year Old Cask Strength rum from the Ministry of Rum Collection by Ed Hamilton is unlike anything else on the market.  It is unique among rums; 100% pot still with complexity and flavors to match and well aged.  There should be more rums like this, but there aren't any.  Thank you Ed Hamilton for bringing us a damn good pot-still overproof.  It won’t be for everyone’s cup, but for those who know, it’s a must.  

Reviewed:  Rum Gallery sampled a bottle from Batch No. 813-7CS in January  2014 in the USA.  Bottled during August, 2013.


© Dave Russell 2017