“A British tar is a soaring soul,
As free as a mountain bird,
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word.
His nose should pant,
and his lip should curl,
His cheeks should flame
and his brow should furl,
His bosom should heave,
and his heart should glow,
And his fist be ever ready for a knock-down blow!”
“A British Tar,” HMS Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan
For more than 300 years, it was one of the few constants for a sailor in the Royal Navy: a daily ration of rum.
The daily “tot” was a fundament of maritime life; each day, the ship’s “Purser” (known on the ship as the “pusser”) provided the regular issue of rum, a tradition that lasted until July 31,1970 – “Black Tot Day.”
And while the tradition is no more, the rum lives on.
In 1979, enterprising founder Charles Tobias secured the rights to the Admiralty’s official rum blending formula — and the right to use the insignia of the Royal Navy’s White Ensign on the bottles of what would become “Pusser’s Rum.”
For almost a half century, the Pusser’s brand has become more than a rum — it’s become a legend in its own right, with a strong physical presence in the British Virgin Islands with bars, eateries and pubs.
For years, Pusser’s West End was one of the first signs of welcome when you arrived into West End, Tortola, a localized empire that’s included a number of stops around the BVI over the years, from Cane Garden Bay to a traditional British pub in Road Town.
Today, Pusser’s British Navy rum is made in Guyana, distillate from a Port Mourant double wooden pot still aged in charred oak ex-bourbon barrels.
Most importantly, it’s said to be true to the rum that was made for the Admiralty all those years on the sea.
The current Pusser’s range is a line of three expressions: the traditional Pusser’s Rum; a cask-strength 54.5-degree “Gunpowder Proof” and the flagship rum, the Pusser’s Rum 15.
They’re all fine rums, all distinctive, all robust, the kinds of rums you’d expect to taste on a British battleship.
We’re rather fond of the Pusser’s 15, an outstanding expression that’s particularly worthy of the name, a rum that’s an institution among those who appreciate the pelagic life.
So what’s it like?
Pusser’s 15 has a strong, woody aroma of dried cherries, spice and a hint of smoke.
The flavor profile is marked by nutmeg, black currant, cardamom; the slightest whisper of orange peel; dried apricot and freshly baked and freshly-toasted bread.
This is a serious rum with a strong personality.
It’s funky, it’s powerful and it doesn’t mess around – but it’s also got a lovely Demarara core, the kind of sweet-edged warmth that can only find its way out of an old wooden still — a rum with a glowing heart, but always ready for a knockdown blow.
In other words, a rum worthy of the Royal Navy.
Rum Journal Rating
Pusser’s Aged 15 Years Rum 15