Lamb’s Demerara Navy Rum – Bottled 1970’s

Lamb's Demerara Navy rum 70's bottling Rum review by the fat rum pirate Lamb’s Demerara Navy Rum. I don’t know exactly when this was bottled. Research has shown that this style of bottle was available in the 1970’s (and before). The UK largely stopped using their own “proof” calculation in 1980 and began showing the ABV rather than the proof. Whilst this is noted as 70 proof on the bottle, it’s the old “British” style proofing so it translates to 40% ABV. The same ABV Lamb’s Navy Rum is today.

I thought it might make an interesting post to compare and contrast the Lamb’s Demerara Navy Rum, that we got in the 70’s with the Lamb’s Navy Rum we find on our shelves today. This also fits in nicely for Black Tot Day as well which was of course 31st July 1970. So we are fast approaching its 50th anniversary.

First up, for all Lamb’s presence in the UK market and a rich history going back many years I cannot find any evidence – even on their own website that they did actually supply rum to the British Royal Navy.

Even though this is just a miniature Lamb’s didn’t introduce their distinctive hexagonal bottles until the 1980’s. The presentation of this rum is quite different with a more sparse colour scheme. I particularly like the heavy plastic and metal screw cap with “Lambs Navy Rum” printed into it. Though it was a bit of a bugger to unscrew.

In the glass Lamb’s Demerara Navy rum is a dark almost burnt brown with orange edges. The nose is the first surprise. I am getting a lot of quite meaty, beefy notes of Marmite and Bovril. Which is quite odd.and not what I was expecting. I did acquire this miniature only very recently at auction, so I cannot really account for how it has been stored. It also smells quite vinegar heavy and altogether just a little odd.

Beneath the sour vinegar and more meaty notes I can detect some more familiar Demerara notes of raisin, coffee and a very definite hit of aniseed.Lamb's Demerara Navy rum 70's bottling Rum review by the fat rum pirate

Sipping this rum I am taken by the lack of sweetness in the rum. It is quite bitter and very heavy on the aniseed notes. Quite a lot of fennel seed in there as well. This is a much less “sweet” style of rum than the one which presents itself on our shelves at the moment.

It’s not a hugely complex rum and the sip is certainly better than the nose – which was really odd. I may well have an off bottle”. Though to be fair it doesn’t taste all that bad, it just smells a bit funny. A little on the one-dimensional side of things though. Bitter burnt toffee and a touch of aniseed with some sharp sweet alcohol is about as far as this rum goes. It’s not awful but its a little bit, meh. I’m thinking Port Mourant still and maybe the Versailles. It’s interesting that this is just a Demerara rum as Lamb’s is noted of being a blend of 18 Caribbean rums way back when Alfred Lamb stated blending it. Nowadays I understand it is a blend of Caribbean rums from various different islands.

Mixing Lamb’s Demerara Navy Rum is quite an underwhelming experience as well. It’s pretty plain and safe, though the odd slightly meaty aroma returns. Drink wise it doesn’t stand up to the cola all that well and doesn’t  really do a great deal. It makes a passable rum and cola but it is nowhere near the calibre of other Demerara rums such as Wood’s or El Dorado 8. Even Skipper has a bit more oomph than this and Pusser’s beats it to a pulp.

It is much less sweet than the raisin and coffee/burnt caramel heavy notes of the current bottling but I can’t say I have much of a preference over either. Both are pretty Lamb's Demerara Navy rum 70's bottling Rum review by the fat rum pirateone dimensional and fairly bland in their own way. The newer bottling is sweeter but equally no show stopper.

Often it is said rum isn’t as good as it was in the past. I can safely declare that in this instance the passage of time hasn’t really changed things. Lamb’s was bang average in the 1970;s and its bang average now.

An interesting little “rarity” to review for Black Tot Day but not one which I’ll be rushing out to buy. There is the odd full size bottle of this available at around £180 if you hunt around. This may interest a collector but I’m very much about the drinking side of things.

Up Spirits! I think I’ll stick to the Pusser’s next year……

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