Brand: Hamilton

Origin: Saint Lucia Distillers Ltd., Roseau, Anse la Raye, Saint Lucia

Still: Pot (Vendome)

Age: 8 years

Finish: ex-Bourbon

ABV: 62%

As far as rare rums go, Hamilton's Saint Lucia Pot Still is often one of the more sought-after rums that are (or were) available on shelves in the United States.

From 2013-2015, a number of cask strength, pot still-only Saint Lucian rums were released by Ed Hamilton. These releases– aged from 5 to 10 years– were limited in number, and some of the first full proof Saint Lucian rums available to the US market. Aside from the exclusivity, they are also regarded as just very good rums.

One rumor I've heard is that the success of this lineup prompted Saint Lucia Distillers (SLD) to halt sales to bulk rum importer/exporter companies altogether, and focus on high-proof offerings through their own brands.

Hamilton's 8 year expression was crafted in 2006 using fermented Guyanese molasses, and distilled by Julian Winter via SLD's Vendôme pot still (technically the Vendôme is a hybrid still, but it's possible the rectifying column was not used). It aged for 8 years in an ex-Bourbon cask (#278) and later imported in that same cask to the US, before finally being bottled at a hefty 62% ABV.

I was lucky enough to spot some of the 8 and 9 year expressions at Lincoln Road while passing through a few years ago, and couldn't resist grabbing a pair of these hard-to-find bottles.


Deep orange brown, low clarity, medium-low viscosity


Peppermint, raspberries, blueberries, motor oil, mango, eucalyptus, molasses


Mango, blueberries, raspberries, cinnamon, baked apples, industrial varnish, star anise, tobacco leaves


Long, warming, funky; oak, molasses, stewed blueberries, blackberries, black licorice, mesquite barbecue

Rating: 9/10


This pure pot still rum is very powerful and complex, and further demonstrates the impressive range of SLD. Saint Lucian funk is fully present in the nose, palate, and finish, while still allowing some fruity and herbal notes to shine through.

The rum is a deep orange brown, with low clarity and some cloudiness. It has medium-low viscosity.

On the nose, the 8 year starts out with a slightly spicy peppermint, before bringing fruity raspberries and blueberries. Stinging motor oil comes in next, followed by mango, eucalyptus, and molasses. Plenty of fruity, herbal, and funky notes in this nose, which is also slightly smokey; that is to say, each trip to the glass, I get something new.

Mango, blueberries, and raspberries start the palate off on a fruity note. Spicy and dry cinnamon leads into baked apples, followed by an industrial varnish that stretches throughout the tasting. Some bitter star anise leads to smokey and savory tobacco leaves to end this complex and enjoyable palate.

This 8 year's finish is long, warming, and funky. Notes of oak, molasses, stewed blueberries, blackberries, black licorice, and mesquite barbeue come through.

Saint Lucian rum has become some of my favorite rum of late, and this Hamilton Saint Lucia 8 year is no exception. The fruit, spice, funk, and smoke all combine to create an unforgettable experience, that even sets it apart from other Saint Lucian expressions. If you weren't already convinced by the "unicorn" status this release garners on social media, then take it from me: grab this if you see it!

Further Reading