Thursday 10 September 2020

Black Tot Rum on Black Tot Day (Tasted #488)

It was a dark day for many on 31st July 1970, when 200 years of tradition came to an end as the last daily rum ration (or "daily tot") was handed out to British Royal Naval sailors. In time however, the day has grown to become a celebration of all things rum, and big things were planned this year, when 31st July 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the day known as "Black Tot Day".

In Hong Kong, the day was to be celebrated in a big way with Timeless & Tasty (official distributors of Black Tot Rum) at the newly-opened Central rum bar The Daily Tot, but unfortunately a third wave of COVID-19 put an end to those plans. Luckily, Black Tot Rum had an alternative, in the form of an epic, non-stop 24 hour online rum festival, featuring rum ambassadors, independent bottlers, formal naval officers and even Sukhinder Singh

To prepare for the event, Timeless & Tasty offered this pack containing component rums from Barbados, Guyana & Jamaica, along with a sample of Black Tot Rum, a blended Caribbean rum from The Whisky Exchange.

"But this is a whisky blog, Martin!" you may be thinking, and you'd be right....but I've never been averse to the odd "malternative" brown spirit being featured occasionally, especially when that brown spirit is rum. Personally, I find rum a delicious spirit, fascinatingly varied, and a category which (thanks to efforts like The Whisky Exchange's focus on categorisation) will likely start to gain the legitimacy and respect already commanded by other categories (e.g. whisky) in the years to come.

The aforementioned pack from Timeless & Tasty was a great way to delve into some rum geekery and explore the different styles and regions which make up the category, especially when enjoyed alongside the following online session (as part of the 24 hour online celebration), conveniently held at 7pm HKT!

with Global Rum Ambassadors - Miguel Smith (Mount Gay), Christelle Harris (Hampden Estate), Daniyel Jones (Angostura), & Benjamin Boothe (Tamosi)

The hour-long session involved an overview of  Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica (from where the rums within Black Tot originated), insights into what makes their spirit production / style unique, thoughts on the future of rum, and for those lucky enough to have the corresponding sample pack, a tasting!

My favourite of the components was Barbados, followed by one of the Guyanan rums (not a surprise given I usually love El Dorado rum, which comes from Guyana), but it was the final Blended product itself I was most excited to try....

Black Tot Finest Caribbean Rum (46.2% ABV, NAS, Blended rum, $660HKD)
Colour: Copper gold

Nose: Grilled pineapple, acetone and glazed honey on the BBQ. There's a meatiness, and a slight hint hint of petrol (in a good way - in the way it really "works" on say a Caroni), along with some vanilla

Palate: Lots of grilled pineapple, BBQ smoke, banana fritters, sweet caramel, dried mango pieces, stewed apples, spice and dried ginger.

Finish: Toasted honey-coated banana toast, coated in icing sugar.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100. I'll admit I was sceptical when I read how tropical the official notes are, but it's true - there are some great tropical flavours in here. I mean, don't expect a 1964 Bowmore, and it's still a rum, but it's a delicious, fruity one.

A big thanks to Timeless & Tasty for the sample pack, and The Whisky Exchange for putting on a fantastic online event and giving those of us in various states of lockdown the ability to still enjoy a delicious spirit and learn something in the process!

From now until 30th September, everyone who buys a bottle of Black Tot Rum from gets the chance to find a Rum Ration Card in their tube, giving them a variety of Black Tot prizes. I'm not sure exactly what the prizes are, but I found one with the bottle I bought (and submitted it for a prize), so I'll let everyone know via Instagram stories once it arrives!


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