Lamb’s Navy Rum is seen in just about every Supermarket off-license, public house and Working Mens Club (WMC) the length and breadth of England (and quite possible Scotland and Wales too).
Originally created in 1849 from a blend of new fewer than 18 rums from Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana by Alfred Lamb. The rum has been available in the UK pretty much unbroken since 1872. The rum was originally stored in the famous West India Dock Warehouse just off the Thames. The rum was then aged for 4 years. For more information please see the Lamb’s Navy Rum site.
For a few years now Lamb’s have been trying to appeal to a younger audience. The explosion of Spiced Rum in the UK in the noughties saw Lamb’s release their own Spiced expression. They have a Cherry Spiced Rum as well which they have recently brought to the market with other spiced and limited edition offerings set to follow in 2015. The website also has a “True British Character” section which again is trying to appeal to a younger audience.
Lamb’s Navy Rum the company’s flagship offering is the companies bread and butter. Unchanged in years it is a staple and for many people the only Navy Rum they are aware of. Which is one of the curious things I find about this rum. Despite deploying the English/British Flag on the front and exclaiming to be Genuine Navy Rum I can find no record of when this particular blend was given to the British Navy. Or any other Navy for that matter. If you know differently (and can link me to a good source) then please let me know. The actual rum itself has little in common with Pusser’s or the Ancient Mariner. One of which (Pusser’s) is based on the original recipe and the other is a rum which was deliberately sourced because it matched (as closely as possible) to the Black Tot rum. The Black Tot was a rum released which was bottled using rum which was left over from prior to Black Tot day.
Lamb’s is available in most supermarkets in both 70cl and 1 litre bottles. The rum is around £15-18 for the 70cl and £20-24 for the 1 litre bottle. The rum is bottled at 40% ABV.
The presentation of Lamb’s NavyRum has been the same for many years. In my 20 years drinking in pubs I cannot remember it being any different. The presentation is clear and unfussy. The bottle is a very unusual hexagonal shape which can make it a little tricky at times to handle and can be slightly hard to get it into an optic as it is pretty wide.
One of my first introductions to Lamb’s Navy Rum was following a shift washing pots in a small market town pub. Having had a few pints (and with little time for many more) it was suggested to me by one of the old regulars to try a “rum and black”. Shortly after 11.30pm I began the 15 minute walk home, which was all downhill. At 1.20am I eventually arrived home, in clothes which were a lot dirtier than when I had left the pub and with little recollection of the previous 2 hours.
So with that little anecdote of teenage drunken stupidity out-of-the-way we’ll continue with the serious stuff. The review.
Nosing the rum the first thing that hits you is the Demerara influence in the blend. It is very fruity, almost like liquid Christmas cake. Raisins, currants, banana and orange peel all jump out at you. It is very sweet.
Of all the Navy Rums I have tried Lamb’s is perhaps the most forgiving. The most initially approachable one. Even the 40% ABV Pusser’s warns you off and the likes of Ancient Mariner and Woods 100 aren’t even that polite. Lamb’s displays none of the rough edges displayed by the others (admittedly most are 54% and above). By Navy Rum standards Lamb’s is a bit on the girly side.
You can sip Lamb’s neat (or add a little blackcurrant cordial and roll all the way home). There is a little burn, but nothing that can’t easily be handled. The rum is very sweet. It is one of the sweetest rums I have tried. It becomes pretty cloying when sipped neat. I managed a few sips before mixing it with cola.
Fortunately I drink diet cola as regular cola is too sweet for me. The diet cola tempers the Lamb’s very slightly. The flavours are the same as the nose. It’s a very rich, sweet, fruity rum. Whilst I really like the El Dorado range I think Lamb’s is just to sweet.
After a night on the lager or beer a couple of Lamb’s and cola will taste great. It’s fairly smooth and pretty drinkable. For a little time. However it soon becomes cloying. It’s my least favourite of all the Navy Rums I have tried. Everything Lamb’s offers or tries to offer I can get from other rum’s. If I want a sweet fruity rum then I can get El Dorado. If it’s a Navy Rum then Pusser’s, Wood’s and Ancient Mariner all out rank Lamb’s.
Overall this isn’t a bad tasting rum but it doesn’t offer much beyond sweet flavours. There is no complexity like Pussers or El Dorado (even the 5-year-old offers more than Lamb’s in terms of overall profile)
This is a pretty disappointing rum to be honest