Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Gold/Black Aren't Aged
Just a short post to clean up a common misconception about two particularly beloved rums: Ed Hamilton’s Jamaican Pot Still Gold and Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black. I’ve enjoyed both rums since their US release nearly a decade ago.
The misconception is that they’re aged.
They are delicious rums distilled at Worthy Park, but they didn’t spend time in a cask.
Unfortunately, misinformation always spreads faster than facts on the internet, and many websites get it wrong. Here are a few representative samples culled from Google’s first page results:
Rum Ratings says the Gold is aged for at least 7 years.
Rum Raider has it listed as an aged rum.
Drizly says it’s “aged up to 5 years.”
Total Wine notes “aged up to five years.”
And in the spirit of times, even Bing/ChatGPT gets it wrong:
Q: Is Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still black rum aged?
A: Yes, Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black is aged for up to five years in Jamaica using traditional pot still methods. It has an ABV of 46.5% and is rich in flavor due to aging in charred oak barrels.
But Wonk, How Are You So Sure?
As someone who devotes substantial time to clearing up misconceptions and setting the record straight, I go to an authoritative source whenever possible. In this case, there’s no more authoritative source than Ed Hamilton himself. I sent him a Twitter DM back in 2019:
Want more proof? Hamilton has a product sheet for these rums. It’s well worth reading. Nowhere does it mention any aging. Furthermore, the product sheet says:
This blend of rum is imported in 1,000 liter pallet tanks at 85% ABV
85% ABV is the strength that Worthy Park’s rum comes off the still. As noted on P. 368 of Modern Caribbean Rum, Worthy Park puts its rum into casks at 70% ABV. Simply put, the 85% ABV rum that Hamilton buys can’t be aged, given the above numbers.
Even without Hamilton’s replies to me, we could have deduced that the rum is unaged from the above ABV information.
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The Caramel Question
While on the subject of these two rums, there’s the topic of the perceived flavor differences between the Gold and Black version. In various Reddit threads and Facebook groups, many people say they discern a difference in taste between the two rums.
Without getting into very subjective question of taste, the only difference is the type of caramel used, per Hamilton’s Product sheet. The Black is colored with “double strength black caramel made from American sugar by Sethness Caramel,” whereas the Gold is colored with “gold tint caramel from Sethness.”
The Minister of Rum Speaks
Should you wish to see Hamilton talk about these rums, including their composition and caramel coloring, check out his video: