Hamilton Goes to Guyana: Port Mourant and Versailles Single Casks

It’s Hamilton week, apparently. I reviewed these two rums a while back along with an Enmore and a Clarendon, all Hamilton picks from Florida Rum Society. Sadly, I don’t the those two any more, but I have just enough of the Port Mourant and Versailles to revisit them and provide a rating.

Hamilton Guyanese Single Cask Port Mourant (Cask #104)

One of several Hamilton-bottled Port Mourants that have showed up over the last few years, this rum was distilled in 2010, aged eleven years in a continental climate, and bottled at 60%.

On the nose, I get minerality, dried flowers and mint, wet leaves, raw squash, Play-Doh, black pepper, green cardamom pods. It’s earthy and vegetal, but not particularly savory like the Versailles below.

The lightness of the cask influence becomes evident on the palate. I get more minerality and herbs, but also fizzy cream soda, celery, mulch, bittersweet chocolate, and marshmallows.

When compared with a similar but tropically aged Port Mourant, this becomes a case study in the profound differences that climate can make on the aging process. I like this, but it hasn’t shaken me out of my generally lukewarm attitude toward younger Port Mourant. Unaged, though? That’s where it’s at. (6/10)

Hamilton Guyanese Single Cask Versailles (Cask #15225)

This rum, produced by the other Guyanese wooden pot still, was distilled in 2012 and bottled in 2021 at 67.9%. Its aging also took place entirely in a continental climate. 

On the nose, this is stylistically similar to the Port Mourant but appreciably different. It shares notes like wet leaves and cream soda but introduces new notes like raw mushrooms, chilis, cheese powder, shea butter. 

The palate is mineral, savory, and almost buttery. The mushrooms from the nose are now being cooked with butter and cheese, garnished with celery, Swiss chard, black pepper, and bittersweet chocolate shavings, then the whole dish is tossed in a pool of high-sodium spring water. The oak is as light if not slightly lighter than the Port Mourant.

My impression of this is about the same as the Port Mourant: good, but not fully winning me over. There’s more complexity in the Versailles than I remember from previous tastings, but I think I prefer the PM just a little more. (6/10)