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Rum Reviews

Black Tot Last Consignment Royal Navy Rum


To honour Black Tot Day, it seemed only appropriate for me to come around tasting @blacktotrum’s Last Consignment, a true expression of the Royal Navy’s rum ration back in the mid-20th century before the ration ended entirely on 31 July 1970.

I will not delve into the history of the tot here because it would be far too much for one post to cover, but if you pop over to @blacktotrum’s or @cocktailwonk’s websites, you could easily find a wealth of information and lots of meticulous research on the origins of the tot, components of the navy rum blend, and how @s_sukhinder stumbled upon these flagons to produce the Last Consignment.

The Last Consignment itself is a time capsule, one that captures the essence of the Royal Navy blend that were filled into flagons (4.5 litre ceramic jars) and stored away when the rum ration was stopped. With an outturn of 3,000 bottles, it was produced from a blend of flagons from the 1950s and the 1970s.

While there was never a fixed recipe for the Royal Navy blend, we know that in 1970, the blend was approximately 60% Demerara, 30% Trinidad (including Caroni), and 10% from anywhere else, such as Barbados and Australia. Jamaican rums occasionally featured in the blends, but these were rare instances, such as in the 1940s-50s during WWII due to supply chain issues, as the profile and price of Jamaican rums were not to the Navy’s preferences.

Moving on to the rum itself, the nose reveals something old, something heavy, perhaps having laid in a cellar corner long forgotten by its owners. There are notes of mustiness and rancio, which is very appealing by the way, and that of earthiness and mushrooms, coupled with a bag full of ripe bananas and a hint of baking spices. Milk chocolates and coffee too. Its been so long since I had this that I’ve almost forgotten how lovely it is.

On the palate, the layers and layers of the Royal Navy blend are immediately evident. You have a nice caramel-like sweetness, a hint of that rancio and a bit of wood. In the middle is where the Port Mourant just shows itself, leather, liquorice, marmalade, a tad spicy, and just the slightest hint of sweat. As we move into the finish, it becomes rather dry, slightly tannic even, with dark chocolates and unripe figs. The finish is long, with more raisins and dark roasted coffee.

I think you can tell by now that I am a huge fan of the Last Consignment. Its a rum blend that should have made absolutely no sense at all, mixing probably anything the navy could get their hands on into these huge open vats, and yet producing something so stupendous, so magical. And the sad thing is that we would likely never see a blend like this again, much less on the same scale as it were, which is why I am savouring every drop of this liquid, because once these bottles are done, it is never coming back.


Image Courtesy of @weixiang_liu


Your occasional rum addict!