31st of July 1970, also known as the Black Tot Day, was the last day on which the Royal Navy issued the daily rum ration to the sailors.
Not to be confused with the Black Tot: Last Consignment (£650) which is supposed to be the remaining Royal Navy rum stock since the day that lent its name to it, The Black Tot (£40) I’m going to talk about is a drier, more affordable modern blend that draws its inspiration from the “300 years of Navy tradition”.
“After two years of research and 26 different recipe iterations, Elixir Distillers launch their first original blended rum: Black Tot.” – taken from their website.
BT is made (blended) by Elixir Distillers which is owned by the people behind The Whisky Exchange, the same people who brought The Last Consignment on the market. The rums in the blend hail from three different Caribbean islands and the recipe is as it follows:
– 40%: Guyana, 3-5 years, old distilled in column and pot still
– 20%: Guyana, unaged, distilled in column and pot still
– 35%: Barbados, 5 years old, distilled in column and pot still
– 5% Jamaica, 3 years old, distilled in pot still
Based on that info, the distilleries would be: Diamond (duh), Foursquare (most likely) and I’ve been told the Jamaican distillate comes from Long Pond – giving it’s only 5% should be a very heavy, pungent marque in order to make a difference. Bottled at 46.2% ABV free of any sweeteners and unchillfiltered. Let’s see.
On the nose it’s heavy on licorice and homemade chocolate – most likely a healthy dose of Port Mourant/Versailles in the Guyanese component. Cocoa, ground coffee, caramel, rubber, vanilla and burnt orange zest. Hints of glue, black tea and rotten pineapple – could this be from that 5% LP? If I stick my nose in I can find some fruity aromas like cherries, raspberries, pears and red apples – probably from the Barbadian juice. If I didn’t know, from the nose, I would’ve thought this is only from DDL, not a blend as that’s the most prominent aroma.
On the palate there’s anise/licorice and dark chocolate upfront. Black tea with a splash of milk, a little menthol, oak spices and nutty flavours like walnuts, hazelnuts and hints of almonds. Raspberry jam, Luxardo cherries, grapefruit juice, mango, maple syrup and some spices like cloves and nutmeg. All the flavours in the blend play very well together, but it’s the Guyanese distillate that’s the MVP here. Floral notes here and there add to the complexity. The finish is slightly bitter and fairly long with anise, tobacco and oaky flavours.
I have to say I am a little bit reluctant regarding the marketing. In my opinion calling a rum Black Tot feels a bit on the nose as people that just heard of the famous Black Tot: Last Consignment would think this would be part of the same historical rum stock. It just creates confusion if nothing else, but hey, at least it doesn’t say “Navy Rum” on the bottle.
That being said I actually enjoy it. It’s definitely lighter than the actual Last Consignment, but it’s heavier/funkier than most mainstream rums out there and it isn’t expensive either. I enjoy sipping this just like any other unadulterated good rum, but I’m a sucker for Guyanese rum… and Barbadian rum… oh, and Jamaican rum too…
Black Tot score:
Value for money: 13/15