The Whisky Exchange
Aged: No age statement
Product of: United Kingdom
As the rather appropriate name suggests, Black Tot is blended and bottled from the last stocks ('Last Consignment') of Royal Naval Rum.
On 31-July 1970 a 300 year-old Royal Naval tradition ended when the last rum ration was issued aboard ships of the British Royal Navy, a day which has since become known as Black Tot Day. The remaining stocks of this rum were left, largely forgotten in storage for the best part of 40 years.
Brothers Sukhinder and Raj Singh of The Whisky Exchange bought a few flagons from a former sailor and then, in 2007 they where given the opportunity to buy the remaining Royal Navy's stocks - enough for between 7,000 and 8,000 bottles.
Royal Naval records suggest that the rum used for the rum ration was imported from the West Indies in oak casks by E.D. & F. Man & Co., the London based official rum merchants to the Navy since 1784. The rum was blended in large oak marrying vats in the historic victualling warehouses of Deptford in East London, Gosport and Devonport from where it was dispatched to British Royal Naval Ships around the world. After the withdrawal of the rum ration, the remaining rum stocks were filled into wicker clad stone flagons and transferred to bonded warehouses where it lay undisturbed, apart from being drawn upon for the odd state occasion, including the royal wedding of Prince Edward.
Sukhinder and Raj discovered that the flagons from each victualling warehouse varied in character and their Black Tot Last Consignment is a blend of these various flagons. (Taste dictated that more of one type of flagon suited the blend so the brothers still hold a small number of unused flagons which they may sell as flagons or bottle at some later date.)
Each bottle of Black Tot Last Consignment is presented a custom made wooden box with an 80 page book on the history of naval rum written by Dave Broom and a copper cup to measure an official half gill ration and a certificate of authenticity.
Sukhinder and Raj rather theatrically launched their bottling of this historic rum on the 28th July 2010 with a re-enactment of the issuing of the rum ration at 6 bells in the forenoon watch (11am) on the quarterdeck of HMS Belfast, just three days before the 30th anniversary of Back Tot Day.
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 28/05/2010
Clear, deep mahogany with ruby red highlights.
Thick treacle, bitter chocolate and espresso with aromas of liquorice, tamarind, walnuts and over-ripe banana.
(Diluted to approx 43% abv) Liquorice, espresso coffee, walnut, tobacco, pencil shavings and bitter chocolate palate is dry but lifted by fruity notes of blackened banana and Griottine cherries, muscovado sugar and liquorice root.
Dry woody notes rise to the fore in a finish featuring tobacco, liquorice, espresso, cacao and very old Modena balsamic.
The Whisky Exchange