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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.
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Aged in wood for 30 years, this is a 108-proof bombshell of aromas and flavors blended from 4 of the world's most compelling rum producers (Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados). Overripe fruit, flowers, tobacco, pepper, tar...plus a half-dozen more...and 300 years of history...all combine to make this rum an extraordinary treat. A healthy taste will set you back $50 from MoM. Hey, baby steps.
This is an amazing rum. I wouldn't want it to be the only rum I ever drink, but I'd be happy to be issued a tot or two on a daily basis, just like the pre-1970 British sailors, only forever. It's a spectacular drink, nearly perfect. Straight up all the way, right?
The nose of this rum is incredibly full and potent with dark chocolate, blackberries and oak. It's very nice with similar characteristics to Pusser's rum, just better. Rarely have I spent so much time just nosing a rum, eventually also picking up cinnamon. Great. The taste is exceptional, with an explosion of leather, coffee, tobaco, oak, blackberries and very dark chocolate. The potency profile falls somewhere between the ED 21 and fx. Velier port mourant 1997. Though it will give you a bit of hair on the chest, it's still very drinkable, which is unfortunate, given the slightly redicules money you have to pay for this collecters bottle. Still im leaning towards a 10, despite the overpricing, because i'm loving this.
Quite high in alcohol, the concentrated experience is not very pleasant but a spoon of water helps to bring out the aromas. I tasted iodine and charred wood, wax polish, cocoa. Not worth the price in my opinion, but interesting experience nevertheless.
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
Sugar: Estimated at 25 GPL. Think of the Pusser's 15 year old rum and then kick up everything that rum has to offer by another 50%. This is a very complex rum in aroma and taste. Let it breath and savor the variety of aromas that flow from your glass. Wood, tobacco, leather, molasses, vanilla, baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, chocolate, and caramel corn. Truly wonderful to smell and the taste follows what you smell in your glass. It's a unique rum that delivers a fist pump to your palate. Very smooth and so well balanced that it hides it's 51% ABV. This is the most expensive rum that I have had the pleasure to sample. If you find it in a bar, shell out the cost of a shot. It's worth it. I would love to have this in my collection, but at $1,000 USD per bottle it's not financially responsible. Because of the cost, knowing that Navy Rum is not for everyone, and I sampled this in a flight of rums that included El Dorado 25 and English Harbour 1981, I give this a 9.
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!
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.
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 €): 3/5 (here I have to take a historical aspect into account)
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
(review context)I had a chance to taste this completely blind to what this was - I had no idea of the costs or how rare it is. I was also just starting to get into rum, and I had never been into hard spirits
At first I thought it was a bit harsh, far too smokey and leathery. By the end of my first glass I was warming up to it, so I poured a second. Each sip was such a blend of flavor, the smoke and leather were there but gave way to chocolate and other berries. I was in love! Then liking it I looked it up and felt bad about being so nonchalant about drinking it.
Since that time I've been lucky to try other high end (read $$$) rum and this is still my favorite.
How do you rate something that will almost certainly run you $50 US if you're lucky, more likely double or triple that, for a single small pour? No flavor can be worth that. Unless money is no object, as a value proposition, there's little reason (beyond sentiment/history) to get this over Pusser's Gunpowder Strength or Hamilton Navy Strength.
But my burning curiosity got the better of me. I can't at all say it's bad. Tobacco, burnt... rubber?... oak? You can taste the Guyanese sweetness and Jamaican funk if you add a bit of water and get beyond the burn, and I love both styles, so I enjoyed my ounce of this. But in the end, I was left with thoughts about naval history, the ephemeral nature of enjoying spirits, thrift... I paid a lot of money for the experience of drinking something rare and expensive, more than an amazing flavor.
"New York Times editorial featuring Black Tot Royal Navy rum"
"Black Tot Royal Navy rum review by Tim from The Whiskey Exchange"
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