It all started with the Royal Navy’s lack of quality transport capacity for water on ships in 1730, and ended with the Royal Navy´s lack of serving rum for breakfast on July 31, 1970.  On that day 54 years ago British Navy decided to serve the last “rum breakfast” and consequently on that day many Royal Navy sailors were wearing black armbands on their hands. Initially, half a pint of rum diluted with water in the ratio of 1:4 was served twice a day for the purpose of hydration. This was done to prevent the development of bacteria in the water, which was often stored in wooden barrels. Long exposure of wood to water led to the development of certain algae and bacteria in the water. Over time this practice has developed into a beautiful tradition, because with the advancement of technology, hygienic conditions on ships have also improved and “old school” water disinfection was no longer needed. However, as is often the case with human traditions, some practices transform into tragedies due to human folly.

Was the tragedy an excessive amount of stupidity that happened to sailors on ships when they were consuming “disinfectant hydration agents”? Or was the real tragedy, as many sailors state, the abolition of a tradition that unofficially dates back to the 1600s?

We’ll never know for sure. Yet, what we do know from unconfirmed sources is that many sailors were willing to give up their salary for rum. Would we do the same? As a traditional magazine, we respect every rum tradition and enjoy consuming rum daily or weekly. Therefore, this dilemma deserves a special article. 

This article today is dedicated to sailors and the rum created in honor of Black Tot Day. One of those rums is Finest Caribbean Black Tot Rum.



Just when the world thought everything was over, and that the tradition and the tragedy would be forgotten together with the disappointed sailors, a certain amount of the last remains of the original Black Tot rum were found in 2009. This discovery occurred somewhere in a London yard. Thus, the whole story awakened again among rum connoisseurs and lovers. 

Subsequently, the whole story, i.e. the tragedy, gains importance when Elixir Distillers buys back the quantities of the original Black Tot rum and launches Black Tot The Last Consignment in 2011.This rum rarity now reaches a price of over 1000 euros for one bottle. Of course, this was far out of reach for the everyday man. Even the later editions, like Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve Rum 2021 or 2022, priced over 100 euros, seemed too expensive for a “working class” rum, traditionally consumed by sailors during their duty. However, there is one edition we have today on test – Black Tot Finest Caribbean Rum. This rum represents everything the original Black Tot Rum was. It is a blend made from three types of rum, priced accessible for the normal society. Its specific taste is meant to be enjoyed straight, mixed with water/mixer, or in cocktails. In our humble opinion, the only thing it may lack is a higher alcohol volume, slightly above 50% alc./vol. would be just fine. Namely, this rum has 46.2% alc./vol. which is perfectly fine, because we are not all rum freaks or sailors. Some of us( not us, you) are quite normal people, and that’s exactly what this rum is trying to do – to bring the history of Black Tot Day through its taste closer to ordinary people.


So, what do we get with this rum?

For about 35-40 euros, we get a beautifully shaped stubby 0.7l bottle packed in an orange box. In the event of a power outage, we can easily find it in the dark on the boat. The whole bottle looks classy and stable with a short neck and a slightly wider body, sealed with a wooden cork. It is adapted to be a companion on a ship rather than a working rum in a bar. 

This compact package contains a complex soul full of rums from Guyana, Barbados, and Jamaica. According to the package, 60% of the content comes from pot and column stills of aged and unaged rum from the Diamond distillery in Guyana. Another 35% belongs to the worldwide adored Foursquare from Barbados, aged for 5 years. Lastly, as a spice on top, there is a 3-year-old pot still Longpod from Jamaica. 

All together, this sounds really interesting in theory. But how does it work in reality? Or in the glass?

Well, this is #RouteToBlackTotDay month. We will slowly discover this route from Sunday to Sunday, from sip to cocktail(s). So, be patient and prepare your glasses for next Sunday.

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