The British Navy were the original rum blenders, marrying together flavours from around the world to create something served to every sailor, every day. This bottling, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Black Tot Day, is a tribute to their original blend, bringing together some of the great lost rums of the past with the amazing modern distillates of today. With the 50th Anniversary of Black Tot Day, we wanted create something to keep the legacy of the Navy blend alive. Rather than just create a one-off edition our head blender Oliver Chilton, has laid down a rum that will be the foundation of the Black Tot blend for years to come. He incorporated casks from Diamond in Guyana, Trinidad Distillers, Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, and Hampden Estate in Jamaica along with a 42-year-old Port Mourant distilled in 1975, and a 23-year-old Caroni and even rums from the original Navy Rum flagons. A third of this blend, however, has been put aside to become the basis of next year’s Black Tot Anniversary blend. Just as the Royal Navy continually added to their rum blend, evolving the flavour year on year, the Black Tot blend will continue to grow, incorporating the full spectrum of countries around the world.
The Demerara rum definitely comes through on the bouquet – Liquorice, molasses, pencil shavings, raisins and chocolate brownies. Quite a bit of vanilla, most likely from the TDL component. Old leather, black coffee, blackcurrant and a vintage shelf of dusty novels that haven’t been touched for years. Black pepper and a touch of cayenne pepper as well. Fruity too with apple pie (with cinnamon), ripe pineapple, melon and ripe pears . The Hampden really shines in it for such a small amount. Nutmeg, walnuts and cloves. The palate presents itself as rich, sweet and hot. Liquorice, dark chocolate, tobacco, ground coffee, treacle and raisins – all typical Guyanese rum flavours. Cayenne pepper once again, but more intense along with some salted caramel. Walnuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, English Breakfast tea and maple syrup. The Caroni in it definitely teases my palate with notes of used car tyres and engine oil. There’s a prominent vanilla custard note as well. Blackberries, orange and grapefruit zests, Hampden overripe pineapple, strawberry jam, mango puree and banana flambé. Hints of mint, smoke and juniper in the back along with some damp cardboard. The finish is beautiful and long with red chilli, dark chocolate and Luxardo cherries.