A few years ago I was attending a Wine and Spirits trade show in Atlanta. While there I chatted with Edward Hamilton, the grandfather of rum in the U.S. about the lines of rums he was representing and he mentioned the idea of the yet to be released Ministry of Rum line. Since that time he has released rums from several islands and provides a batch number on every bottle.
Using the batch number the consumer can go online and receive detailed information about the island, distillery, as well as the barrels used during the particular batch. He also share information about the filtered water used during the blending process when the rums were blended and bottled in New York. Mr. Hamilton does not use any caramel coloring or other additives in his rum line.
As the title indicates the rum is created on the island of St. Lucia at St. Lucia Distillers LTD. The molasses based rum is distilled using a Vendome copper pot still then aged for seven years. Edward Hamilton then personally selected the casks for this blend and shipped them to New York where they were blended to 97 proof at Five and 20 distillery in Mayville, New York. The barrels used in the blend were numbers: 443-12-03, 449-12-03, 597-11-06, 451-12-03 and 151-10-04. On the label of each bottle is a batch number, for this review my bottle is from batch #813-793.
The tall dark bottle is capped with a gold security wrap concealing a plastic capped synthetic cork. On the neck of the wrap is the signature of Edward Hamilton in black. The front and back labels provide the basic information about the rum along with the batch number and year: 2006 as well as the online references mentioned above. The rum in the glass is a nice solid copper color with gold highlights. Swirling the liquid produced a nice thick band with long slow moving legs that cling to the glass and take quite a while before they evaporate.
As I poured the rum in the glass the air was filled with the heavy dunder aroma I associate with a pot still rum with the tang of alcohol that goes along with the high proof. I let the glass breathe for a few minutes and discovered notes of earthy vanilla, sweet banana, lemongrass, a touch of anise, with oak tannins dancing with the other flavors.
The first sip provides a rush of oak laden spices of cinnamon, tobacco, and nutmeg with a nice black pepper pop of alcohol. Additional sips reveal notes of baked apple and lightly acidic orange in the midline, with sugary pear across the tip of the tongue. As the rum begins to fade I discovered an ear thy base of astringent leather, anise, with light mineral notes at the finish.
I have to admit I was a bit wary and excited to finally experience this rum. Over the past few years I had heard mixed reviews about the expressions in the line and was literally braced for anything. Knowing Edward Hamilton wanted to create something that the rum connoisseur could experience while learning the details about the product with a level of transparency rarely seen in the spirits industry.
I found this rum to be enjoyable from beginning to end right down to the lingering finish. Adding a touch of water really opens up the fruit notes and mellows out the oak. Enjoy it neat, with an ice cube, or dash of water. At this time the Ministry of Rum line is in limited distribution across the U.S. and can be found at some online retailers.