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The Hidden Treasure: Unveiling the Specialty Rum That Lay Dormant for 40 Years

The specialty rum that sat around for 40 years without anyone knowing about it

In the world of spirits, few things are as intriguing as a rare and mysterious bottle of aged rum. Such is the case with the specialty rum that sat around for 40 years without anyone knowing. This intriguing story takes us back to the days of the British Royal Navy and its tradition of providing sailors with a daily ration of rum. Let’s delve into the fascinating history of this hidden gem.

The Naval Tradition: Pusser’s Rum and Grog

For centuries, the British Royal Navy relied on rum as a staple on board their ships. Water was scarce and often unsafe, making rum a preferred choice for hydration. Beginning in 1655, sailors were issued a pint of rum per day, known as “Pusser’s Rum” due to a mispronunciation of the term “purser”. This daily ration became a long-standing tradition, affectionately known as “Nelson’s Blood” after Admiral Horatio Nelson.
In 1740, an admiral made a significant change to the daily tot by diluting it with water, lime juice, and sugar to create a concoction known as grog. This diluted mixture served the dual purpose of preventing scurvy and reducing the likelihood of drunkenness among sailors. Despite the admiral’s intentions, however, many sailors hoarded their rations and consumed them all at once, leading to the term “groggy” entering the English language.

The end of an era: Black Tot Day

After a remarkable 300-year run, the tradition of daily rum rations came to an end on July 31, 1970. Advances in naval technology and the need for sober operations led to the decision to discontinue the daily tot. This significant milestone became known as “Black Tot Day” and marked the end of an era for the British Royal Navy.
But the story doesn’t end there. For nearly four decades, the remaining rum from the oak barrels was stored in a warehouse, largely forgotten. Only on rare occasions would the rum be opened for special events, but for the most part it remained untouched, waiting for its moment to shine.

Rediscovered and blended: Black Tot Rum

In 2010, Specialty Drinks acquired the forgotten rum just in time for the 40th anniversary of Black Tot Day. They embarked on a mission to celebrate the history and legacy of this special spirit. The team carefully blended the rums from all of the bottles to create a unique and limited release known as Black Tot Rum.
With only 6,000 bottles produced, Black Tot Rum quickly became a coveted item among rum enthusiasts and collectors. Priced at £850 or approximately $1,000 per bottle, it offers the opportunity to own a piece of British naval history. The appeal of this rare rum lies not only in its age, but also in the stories and traditions it represents.

A taste of history

Rum taster Josh Miller had the privilege of tasting this exceptional rum. He describes the experience as a journey through flavors, with notes of blackstrap molasses and smoke at the forefront. Surprisingly, there is also a distinct undertone reminiscent of soy sauce, adding a unique and unexpected element to the flavor profile.
Miller concludes that Black Tot Rum is not only a fascinating artifact of naval and rum history, but also a spirit worth savoring. While its price may deter some, true rum connoisseurs are encouraged to indulge in this rare and exceptional offering.

Preserving the legacy

The story of the specialty rum that sat unnoticed for 40 years is a reminder of the rich traditions and hidden treasures that can be found in the world of spirits. It is a testament to the dedication and passion of those who strive to preserve and celebrate the history behind these remarkable libations.
Whether you are a rum enthusiast, a history buff, or simply fascinated by tales of forgotten treasures, Black Tot Rum offers a remarkable opportunity to connect with the past and experience a taste of British naval heritage.
So the next time you raise a glass of rum, take a moment to appreciate the stories that lie within and savor the flavors that have been crafted over centuries. Cheers to the specialty rum that has defied time and secrecy, finally emerging from obscurity to captivate the world.


What is the origin of specialty rum?

Specialty Rum has its origins in the British Royal Navy, where it has been provided as a daily ration to sailors since 1655.

Why was rum chosen as the beverage of choice on board naval ships?

Rum was chosen because water was scarce and often unsafe at sea. It was a more practical choice because it took up less storage space and had a longer shelf life than other beverages.

What led to the end of the daily rum ration?

Advances in naval technology and the need for sober operation led to the end of the daily rum ration on July 31, 1970, a day known as “Black Tot Day”.

How did the rum specialty get rediscovered after being dormant for 40 years?

The Specialty Rum was rediscovered by Specialty Drinks in 2010, just in time for the 40th anniversary of Black Tot Day. It had been stored in a warehouse, occasionally opened for special events, but largely forgotten.

What is the flavor profile of Black Tot Rum?

Black Tot Rum has a unique flavor profile with distinct notes of blackstrap molasses and smoke at the forefront. There is also a surprising undertone reminiscent of soy sauce that adds a distinctive element to the flavor experience.

How can I get a bottle of Black Tot Rum?

A limited number of bottles of Black Tot Rum have been produced and are available for purchase at a price of £850 or approximately $1,000 per bottle. This is an opportunity for enthusiasts to own a piece of British naval history and enjoy a rare and exceptional spirit.

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