Gunroom Navy Rum

Gunroom Navy Rum Review by the fat rum pirateGunroom Navy Rum. The date of this review is quite significant. If you are reading this review “hot off the press” then you will be, depending on your global location, hopefully still enjoying the 31st July 2020. This signifies 50 years since the British Royal Navy ceased the practice of the Daily Rum Ration or Tot, as it was more popularly known on board its ships.

Indeed, the day itself is now known as Black Tot Day. To most of my generation the idea of a Navy running on anything stronger than Black Coffee might seem quite preposterous. However, way back in the midst of time conditions aboard British Naval Ships were not quite as pleasant as they are now. So a pint (or near enough) of rum a day was what the sailors onboard used to imbibe just to get through the horror of life on the high seas.

There are numerous stories and legends surrounding the Rum Ration. A lot of which I suspect have been embellished and the truth stretched a little bit here and there. However, one “legend” which exists is the idea that any spirits on board the ship had to be “Overproof” or “Navy Strength”. In other words, the rum (in this instance) had to be boozy enough to ignite when exposed to a naked flame. Back in the day Rum and Gunpowder were stored close together. Due to the rough seas and long journeys the rum would often soak the gunpowder or be spilled on deck. If you were in conflict with an enemy the last thing you wanted was your Gunpowder failing to go “Boooooommmm!”

Anyway, despite there being numerous events etc being staged today, I have once again found myself looking in on what is going on rather than being involved.  So it gives me a little time to knock up this review of a Navy Rum. I have had this bottling knocking around for some time. I figured a while back today might be a good day to do the review.

Now first up Gunroom Navy Rum is a “Navy Style” rum rather than an actual “real” Navy Rum. In other words, no Navy (that I am aware of) have ever been issued with this rum in any kind of scenario. It is in fact the brainchild of Gunroom Spirits who hail from Sweden and are part of the Integrity Spirits family.

As well as a Navy Strength rum they also have a Navy Gin and a London Dry Gin in their portfolio. Gunroom Navy Rum is a blend of rums from ex-British colonies. So we have rum, in the “British Style”. Even though the islands involve produce very different rums in reality! Never mind, like all things people love categories.

The actual blend is as follows

A blend of Pot/Column rums aged between 2 and 5 years from Barbados

Column distillled rum aged between 2 and 5 years from Trinidad

A “young” rum from Guyana (could be unaged?)

Gunroom Navy Rum Review by the fat rum pirateThe majority of the rum in the blend is a Pot Still Rum aged for 3 years in Jamaica, with 1% of the blend being an undisclosed rum. At this stage I am guessing this is probably from Caroni.

The rum is blended together at full strength giving it a final bottling proof of 65% ABV overall. It is not diluted, coloured and no additives are present.

Gunroom Navy Rum is presented in the opaque stubby, slightly square bottle with a very short neck and a “Olde Worlde” style label. It looks quite antique. The rum is sealed with red wax which hides a plastic topped real cork stopper. It is now available in the UK and you can order it at The Whisky Exchange and you can also find it quite easily online in Europe. At The Whisky Exchange the slightly smaller 500ml/50cl bottle retails at £47.95 currently.

So let’s see how Naval this one is then.

In the glass Gunroom Navy Rum is lighter than the bottle might lead you to believe. It is a rich golden/dark brown with an orange/red hue. It looks very natural – unlike most Navy Style Rums.

The nose is more in keeping with an Independently bottled Demerara Rum than the  cheaper Navy Style Blends such as Lamb’s or Wood’s It has a slightly smoky note to it which reminds me a little of the The Black Tot Rum – Finest Caribbean. It has a sweetness but it is less molasses heavy. Less treacly if you like.

The nose is nicely balanced but this rum really does benefit from time in the glass. It’s quite aggressive when poured but mellows a little given time. There are notes of Aniseed and Liquorice, a smattering of smokiness and a touch of petrol. Like a mechanic’s rags or overalls. Engine Grease and some strong notes of varnish and creosote.

You may be wondering where the balance is I spoke of? Well mingling alongside all these “Industrial” aromas are some lighter fruity notes – burnt bananas, pineapple juice and a touch of raisins.

It’s quite an aggressive, punchy nose and it certainly calls for your attention with such a high ABV.

Sipped a little water helps. There is a strong hint of natural Demerara rum running through this rum – a heavier style of Guyanese rum hailing from at least one of their Wooden Pot Stills. I’m getting what I familarise with as the Port Mourant still but don’t quote me on that. The Jamaican rum is adding some funk and bit of a bitter/sweetness – Grapefruit and some lemon juice. It is all encapsulated by a slightly murky, slightly savoury note of tobacco and leather.

The mid palate evolves into some sweeter notes of cocoa and dark chocolate but the finish is very bitter and quite woody. It sticks around for quite some time but most of the finish is fiery and boozy rather than a classic fade and appreciation further of the rum.

Gunroom Navy Rum is not a classic sipper. It is an interesting attempt at an older style of Navy Rum which is probably a good approximation of something that sailors may have had in days gone by. An all time classic rum? No it isn’t that.Gunroom Navy Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

It works surprisingly well when mixed. Great in a Rum and Coke. It gives a nice smoky edge and the fruitier notes of the rum shine through a little more. I bought this out of pure curiosity. I looked at it for aged before finally deciding to buy it. Likewise I’ve sat down to review it a good few times and found it quite a difficult rum to “judge”. Sometimes I like it other times I struggle with it.

It’s a bit young and a bit rough around the edges but that is part of it’s charm. It maybe is a bit much at times but when the mood take you it can be very enjoyable. It does taste a little on the young side though in many ways. If you are looking for another review then my mate over at Rum Diaries Blog Steve reviewed this ages ago……

An interesting take on a Navy Style Rum. I might take a look at some of their other offerings. They also have a White 2 Ports rum I understand.





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