Man O War Gunpowder Rum

Difford's Guide

alc./vol: 45%

Proof: 90°

Vintage: Non-vintage

Aged: No age statement

Product of: Product of New Zealand New Zealand

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Gunpowder Rum is inspired by a time when the naval ration was 'proved' by moistening gunpowder with rum and igniting. If the rum was of a sufficiently high proof then the gunpowder would flare and well-made rum would burn with a blue flame. If the rum had been over diluted it would not flame.

Ben Simpson, of Motel Bar in Wellington, New Zealand is the man behind Man O'War Gunpowder Rum which he has been making since 2007. He blends four different Caribbean rums and infuses them with chilli, pipe tobacco and the kind of old-fashioned gun powder used in muzzle loading muskets. After a two-week infusion the rum is strained, hand-bottled and wrapped in paper. The bottles are all recycled bottles - i.e. they once held something else in Ben's bar. The female pirates that grace the brown paper bottle wrapping change with every batch.

Bars around the world now proudly display bottles of Man O'War rum after procuring via an online (Facebook) bartering process. Bottles have usually been transported by one of Ben's friends on their travels, this latest bottling came to us via that champion of all things Kiwi, Jacob Briars.

Review and Tasting

Sampled on 01/04/2011


Clear, chestnut brown.


An explosive nose of graphite, maple syrup and spent shot gun cartridges but with espresso coffee and cacao aromas.


Dark molasses, stony, earthy palate with cacao, espresso coffee and bitter toffee flavours (more refined and less prickly than previous bottlings).


Mocha coffee, hot pepper, metallic, spicy, tingling, phosphorous finish. Sip, light touch paper, stand back and ponder the Kiwi mentality.

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Update information/image

Product Information

Closure: Screw / Stelvin cap

More about Man O War Gunpowder Rum

Produced by: Ben Simpson
UK distribution by: Not available in UK

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