back to article Authentic Navy rum: Yours for £600 a bottle

Those of you with a taste for rum and 600 quid to spare might like to uncork a bottle of Black Tot "Last Consignment" British Royal Naval Rum, lovingly decanted from the official stocks held by the Senior Service since sailors' final rum ration in 1970. Black Tot rum On July 31 of that year, at precisely six bells in the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Not bad considering

    15yr old Havana club knocks you back about £130 - £180 in this country.

    Or £80 in Cuba (or less with a nice smile and paying in sterling)

    And tastes fantastic!

  2. Velv Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    More correctly, 1.232 pints.

    What's that in proper measures. Come on El Reg - sloppy journalism not to complete the conversion.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Here you go

      1.2154 Bulgarian Airbags

  3. Anonymous John



    * More correctly, 1.232 pints."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      1.337gf, or 1.2 Bulgarian Airbags. I think.

  4. Jimmy Floyd

    £599... £1 for a bottle of coke!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Don't you DARE put coke with it, that would be a major sin. And you should drink it in one go!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    £600 quid a bottle?

    I recommend Asda coke over Tesco's for mixing purposes

  6. Campbeltonian

    Proper units, please.

    * More correctly, 1/7041 cubed smoots.

  7. Stewart 3

    When was the last time?

    Anyone know when was the last time the rum ration was issued? I remember getting a tot when Prince Andrew got married.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ".... since sailors' final rum ration in 1970."

      On July 31 of that year, at precisely six bells in the forenoon watch, Jack tars were issued their ultimate hit of rum on what became known as "Black Tot Day

      Pretty much the entire contents of the 1st two paragraphs

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters


        at the end of Para 3 it also refers to it being tapped for "the odd state occasion".

        Looking back ar the Duchess's recent antics, that wedding would certainly qualify as an odd state occasion...

    2. Trevor Marron

      We were still getting our rum ration in 1984

      In 1984, whilst at Greenham Common, the temperature fell below 0 degrees Celsius and those of us on fence guard were issued our rum ration. I was in the Royal Tank Regiment though, which had retained the rum ration from when it was part of the Royal Navy.

      And yes, the rum was the real deal, poured as molasses from a raffia wrapped flagon then diluted with water.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Army Rum

        You are correct when you state that the Army continued to issue rum, long after the termination of the Royal Navy daily tot, in 1970. The Army first issued rum in the 18th Century and did so more recently in Iraq.

        Unlike rum for the Royal Navy, which was purchased through the Admiralty broker and blended in the victualling yards to "the flavour preferred by the men," as stated by the 1st Lord to the Admiralty, at Westminster, on 15/2/33, Army rum was purchased by open tender and could be from various origins.

        Army rum was stored in separate vats at the Admiralty victualling yards and filled into indentical 1 gallon stone flagons, also used by the Royal Navy. A WW1 Army rum jar is on display in the Imperial War Museum.

        In the 1990's a consignment of Army rum, which had been stored in Germany for a number of years, was brought back to the U.K., for disposal and placed in the former Naval victualling yard, at Gosport, giving rise to the false impression that it was original Navy rum,

        On 31st July, The Times report on Black Tot rum stated that "ten years ago, surplus flagons were sold off for £8 per gallon." My concern is that this rum may now been mistaken for original Royal Navy rum. Why would the Navy store rum for 40 years after the demise of the tot and after 40 years, how does anyone know the origin of the rum in sealed flagons? As the message below states, flagons from three different sources were opened, married and refilled in bottles. Once reblended, how can Black Tot rum claim to be the original Navy blend? Surely the true historic value lay in keeping the rum in the original flagons?

    3. DataFish

      It was....

      The last tot was given in 1970 as an official ration. But then it was still Grog and not neat rum (for those non Naval...grog was a mix of rum and water). Neat tots were still given out when I was serviing but only as "special occasion" treats. I received one after completing Artic Survival Training in Norway :o)

  8. Yorkshirepudding

    blow the man down

    just spoke to our network manager who is ex signals from the navy and he had to snorts of this in his life, he says its lethal stuff akin to treacle and needs seriously watering down

    sounds good to me

    1. Mike Richards

      How strong?!!!!

      My dad got some of this in a swap of ciggies for rum between the Army and the Navy. They kept it in an aluminium bottle - which turned black as soon as it came into contact with the grog. That's a pretty awesome drink.

      1. BlueGreen

        @Yorkshirepudding, @Mike Richards

        Strong? Strong??? you can get Wray & Nephew overproof (63% alcohol) anywhere and it's quite drinkable straight. Big girls' blouses the both of you.

        Now polish spirits, at 79.9% - that actually hurts, straight.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Strong?

          I remember many years ago a friend coming back from holiday in Yugoslavia with a bottle of what looked like Decosol car upholstry* cleaner labelled "Stroh Inlander Rum".

          It caused some fairly serious pain and completely removed your powers of speech. The clue was the bit on the bottle in small print where it said "86%** by volume alcohol".

          It still reckon it was tape head cleaner cut with Decosol meself. It certainly tasted like it.

          *The only other translucent, "luminous orange highlighter pen" coloured liquid that I am familiar with.

          **To be strictly accurate, eighty-something-percent. I can't remember exactly.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Stroh?

            In Norway, the 80% Stroh is considered legally as narcotics. The 60% version is legal there, methinks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      aggressive liquid

      That's why it comes with a copper cup that does not dissolve that easily.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    My "uncle" reputedly had some (more than one) of the stone flagons full of the stuff from his time in the Navy. I can only imagine how much they would be worth now.

    (He's also amassed a few million quid after many years living/working at sea and not having to spend money on a home life)

  10. Red Bren

    If Lewis wrote this article

    We would have been treated to a tirade on how the Royal Navy was wasting tax-payers money to support rum industry jobs in disgruntled colonies, instead of buying cheap rye based alcohol from the yanks at a fraction of the cost...

  11. FreeTard

    very young

    When we were nippers (16 years old) we drank 100+ year old rum, it was way over a hundred years old as we found it in my French mate's grandad stash - and he had died 30 years previously.

    He was left the house by his recently deceased grandmother which was why we went over.

    The bottles were all twisted like in the swashbucking movies, and we drank it wth coke and lemonade.... It must have been worth a fortune....!!!! Ah well.

    1. BossHog


      You only live once! :)

    2. Cameron Colley

      With Coke and lemonade?!?!

      You do realise you could have sold it and bought about twenty times as much cheap rum and got pissed longer?

      1. Captain Thyratron

        What are you, a frat boy?

        There's more to drinking rum than just getting pissed.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @Captain Thyratron

          No there's not. Now a good single malt Scotch, (Speyside preferably but occasionally from the Highlands,) that's something you take your time to appreciate. Rum? Like tequila, the purpose behind rum is inebriation and nothing more.

          Quality drinks, sir…I recommend you take the time to get to know them.

          1. Thomas 4


            If you insist on drinking that poisonous crap otherwise known as Bacardi, of course you will have a dim view of rum as a proper drink. A good bottle of Havana Club, served on ice, would soon set you right.

          2. Cameron Colley


            I beg to differ -- a good rum is comparable to a decent whiskey. Granted you'll not find something as sophisticated in taste as, say, a good Islay -- but Rum can still be appreciated for it's taste. As can a good tequila for that matter.

  12. Mike Richards

    Looking forward

    To Lewis' tasting test.

    I wonder how grumpy he'd get with a few tots of this in him?

    C'mon Lester, raid the Reg's kitty - it'll be worth it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ho ho ho

    That's an expensive bit of totty!

  14. EddieD
    Thumb Up

    Half a gill measure?

    Not bad - that's the equivalent of a triple using the old bar standard in England (a 2.5 if using the Scottish standard) of cask strength grog.

    No wonder they were jolly!

  15. Gilleain Torrance


    ...why is the rum gone?

  16. John Dougald McCallum

    Rum Ration

    1/2 Gill Measure + about 1 pint of water was the usual drink.It was sugested that The pongos would get the Ration in stead of The Navy when they were on Arctic training exersises,the Rum Ration morphed into a beer ration1 1/2 pints or equivilent NCO and Officers could choose Spirits instead.Got to be Jolly Roger.Splice The Main Brace the weekend starts here.

    1. Nuke
      Thumb Up

      @ McCallum & Datafish:

      I supervised the Rum Ration on an HM ship as a junior officer around 1969. We were in the tropics and the catering guys set up a table on deck from 1200-1300 hrs to serve it. A Petty Officer (PO) kept a register to make sure no-one came twice. About half the ratings (the ordinary sailors) on the ship took their tot. I had nothing to do except see no rules were broken.

      The ration was 1/2 gill, like a pub treble. One rule was that it was served mixed with two parts of water (not "about a pint"). Rum and water were issued from copper measuring cups into a half pint glass tumbler so it was 2/3 full . The water made it "grog" not rum, and unlike rum grog does not keep which meant that the sailors could not store it up over the weeks for a big binge below decks. Another rule was that they had to drink it all within my line of sight. At that time the ratings had their own bar but it did not serve spirits.

      The PO's were also entitled to their tot but their total ration was put in a single jug and one of them came to collect it. They could drink it how they liked.

      The ships officers did not get the rum ration, but the wardroom bar had spirits to buy. It was truly duty-free when at sea - a shot of whisky cost 1 penny, that's probably like 5p today!

  17. Youngone

    New Zealand Navy

    The NZ navy discontinued splicing the mainbrace on 1 March 1990, which just shows (something).

    I remember drinking some of the stuff with a bunch of ex-navy servicemen at an ANZAC day breakfast (breakfast!). Tasted like tar and made everyone win several wars before lunch if I remember right. I do remember that the Battle of the River Plate turned out to have been between a German Heavy Cruiser and 4 brave Kiwi sailors in a dinghy, and we know how that turned out for the Nazis eh? Eh? You doubt me!?.... etc.

  18. P. Lee Silver badge


    of Royal Navy Rum?

    So much for tradition and doing things right!

    Nelson must be spinning...

  19. DataFish


    It simply isn't worth £600...yes its strong and yes it has some history to it...but it's just Rum! Go over to Maritius and you can get some craking Sugar Cane rum (now that is nice stuff).

    If you pay £600 for some jack tar's cast off booze you might as well go mine sweeping at your local bar...spend the £600 on something else.

    I'm off to get my port and starboard scran's breakfast time! See you when the fog clears.


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Not Really...

      For disclosure, I'll point out that the company I work for has bottled this rum. Forgive me for posting, but I thought I should make a few points.

      @ Datafish: Any product for sale is 'worth' only what people are prepared to pay for it. As this is the last ever consignment of official Royal Navy rum, it represents the last remnant of a naval tradition that dates back to the 17th century, but which finished forty years ago. For that reason alone, it is of great interest to ex-servicemen in the Royal Navy who remember having their daily tot, as well as to the very large global community of rum aficionados and people who enjoy and appreciate naval and nautical history.

      This rum was in storage in stone flagons in military depots for nearly forty years until we found it and went about the very expensive process of acquiring it, blending it and bottling it for the wider public to enjoy. We understand that to most people the idea of paying £600 for a bottle of any drink is not something that they can relate to, but we all have our own notions of value and worth, and for many people who are crazy about rum, Black Tot is a unique and genuine piece of naval history that they feel is 'worth' paying a premium price for. If it doesn't float your boat (sorry), that's fine, but a lot of people are going 'tot'-ally mad for it (ok, I'll stop now).

      1. Anonymous Coward


        If, as you say, you opened original stone flagons and reblended the contents, how can you then claim that this is the original Royal Navy blend? The original Royal Navy blend, Pusser's Rum has been on sale for many years, with the approval of the Admiralty and costs considerably less than £600 per bottle! The Royal Navy Sailors Fund, which provides recreational facilities for serving sailors, receives a royalty on sales.

  20. alex cee

    Seems cheap....

    ....compared to some of the other things on that site:

    They sell a Glenfiddich 1937 single malt whiskey for an eye watering £50,000!!!

  21. Wommit

    Pussers Rum...

    I got totally pissed on the smell of that stuff when I were t'lad. I was CPO's mess man and I had to collect the rum, in a covered fanny, from the rum store.

    Just as I was about to collect the couple of gallons for the Chiefs, the cask ran out and a new one had to be broached. This, together with all of the paperwork (if you thing SSADM involved lots of paper, just try opening a barrel of pussers rum) meant that I was standing in the alcohol laden rum store room air for nearly twenty minutes.

    For an innocent junior such as wot I wus (and still am, I'll have you know!) this was a little too much. I was pissed, rat arsed, out of my tiny tree.

    I staggered back to the Chiefs mess with the two gallons of rum in its fanny and was promptly accused of stealing some of the rum on the way over. I had motive, it was rum, and opportunity, I was twenty minutes later than normal, and they had proof, I was pissed. Court Marshal time.

    Fortunately a calmer head than the president of the Chiefs Mess decided to do a little investigation and they quickly realised that was truly innocent, and totally unable to work that afternoon.

    I was sent to my mess and gladly had a make-a-mend with sleep (a very rare treat in the late 60's.)

    Black Friday was a sad day, at HMS Heron the CPO's tot was delivered in a hearse with most of the camp lining the route.

    Beer, the sailors mind altering substance of choice.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Tasting Notes

    There's a website for this rum now: and some tasting notes:

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