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Black Tot Royal Navy Rum is a blended, aged rum in that had been stored for 40 years in stone flagons by the British Royal Navy. The rum is part of the last rum ration served to British Royal Navy sailors on July 31, 1970 when the 300-year old tradition of a daily rum ration, or "tot", ended.
Until recently when 1000 bottles were made available for public sale, Black Tot Royal Navy rum was reserved only at British Royal weddings and State functions.
I was surprised to see this suddenly show up at my local Bitters & Bottles, but it had a large number of great reviews, so I thought I should give it a try!
I started by comparing this to the Black Tot 50th Anniversary, which is actually higher rated as of this review. That one had a little more spice and flavor to it, and I personally liked that a bit more. This was interesting too, however.
Smells and tastes of leather, tobacco, tar, charred oak, molasses, blackberries, dark chocolate, licorice, and nuts. This is a fine rum, but a bit dry and not worth $1,000 to me. I recommend getting the 50th Anniversary instead if you can still find it!
Flagon stored in 1970 and sealed by HM Customs — this is as close to rum running history as you can get.
A rich rum with a amazing aftertaste. I recommend enjoying on the rocks and exhaling through your nose for a full rich-flavoured experience. If you can, drink sea side to add the smell and sound of this rums intended heritage! (I enjoyed mine at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico :) )
It was behind lock and key at the rum bar I frequent so I assumed I wouldn’t be dissatisfied but was proven wrong.
Strong alcoholic taste and did not enjoy at all unfortunately
Now that I've tried most of the Navy Rums, it's time to try the original. I would like to remind you that Charles Tobias from Pussers company acquired the rights of the original blend from the British Royal Navy in 1980, as this is relevant in the conclusion.
I know from sailor reports that this rum should taste dark and earthy. I am expecting a Black Tot 50th style rum with more complexity and maybe dirty notes of a caroni.
Let's see what we have here.
Smell: A very dark smell escapes from the glass, which partly reminds me of Pusser's Gunpowder Proof but also of Black Tot 50. I first notice molasses, lots of liquorice and burnt sugar. The smell seems stale, there is some cold coffee, a slight medicinal note (some disinfectants smell of it) and smoked wood with a hint of wood varnish. You can smell that the rum is strong and earthy. In addition to the slightly medicinal note, a fruity note of dried fruits, especially blueberries, is noticeable. The fruit appears overripe or rotten in this composition.
I expected something similar from this rum, it met my expectations. That stale and dark aroma seems to be overaged however. If that were a modern pussers blend, I would have pointed out a few wrong aromas.
Taste: The taste starts slightly sweet with burnt sugar, some molasses and liquorice. It has very dark aromas and seems earthy. Tannins with a slight bitterness take over the taste. The rum quickly increases in spice and brings out old, wet wood. It tastes earthy in the middle, dried fruits with blueberries can be found in the background. The finish is sharp and long with wood, tannins and earthy barrel notes. Blueberries are again in the background.
Aftertaste: molasses, liquorice, medicinal notes, dried fruit with blueberries
Conclusion: The rum seems clearly overaged or stale. The taste lags behind the smell.
Licorice and molasses as well as blueberries are the main notes of its character. I guess the fruits were more present earlier. It probably tasted a little fresher and less stale 50 years ago. In any case, it has clear parallels with Pusser's rum, which continues its legacy to this day. There are parallels with the old version of the 150 proof, which was more medical and with the current Guyana version, which is more molasses heavy.
The Black Tot 50th is the best imagineable representation of last consignment. I mixed a fresher Tot in the Last Consignment style with more molasses and fewer wrong aromas and can now understand what the sailors liked about it. It was a kind of cola in form of rum.
Dark, earthy, fruity flavors were probably less common in the 1970s. We know such flavors from Pepsi or Coca Cola. That is why such a taste was probably particularly prominent in the past.
At the same time, it could scare off the inexperienced palate and flatter the experienced, and certainly made the old sailors laugh when they watched the newcomers drink their first ration.
As much as I love the Black Tot 50th and appreciate the Navy Rum, I cannot rate the Last Consignment with more than 85 points. It has clear signs of overaging and also very clear some wrong aromas. I hope you still want to try this piece of history and appreciate this rum.
Overall rating: 85 points
Spice: 3.5 / 5
Complexity: 2.5 / 5
PL (700 €): 2/5 (here I have to take a historical aspect into account)
Sweet ginger cake and vanilla on the nose, very pleasant. Tropical fruit and sticky ginger cake palette. Harsh finish at first followed by toffee.
This one is smooth and has quite a bit of character. I had this one neat over dinner at a restaurant and loved it. Never heard of it, and only tried it off of the bartenders recommendation. After sitting for a while, the taste was still the same. I love when I can find a rum I can slowly sip without the flavor profile changing too drastically. The color of this rum is pretty dark, not too sweet and not too potent.
I paid a lot for a sample of this in San Francisco but it was worth it as it was crazy good. And I figured I would never have the opportunity again. Well worth it
"Black Tot Royal Navy rum review by Tim from The Whiskey Exchange"
"New York Times editorial featuring Black Tot Royal Navy rum"
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