Pusser’s 15 Yr Old Navy Rum
Pusser’s 15 Yr Old Navy Rum (Nelson’s Blood) 93/100
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted October 2009 (Revised and Re-scored October 25, 2015)
Pusser’s Rum is advertised as the original rum of the British Royal Navy. And it is a fact that for over 300 years it was a tradition of the British Navy that each member of the crew was issued a daily ‘tot’ of rum. This tradition began in 1655, and by 1731, the tradition of the daily ‘tot’ was in general use throughout the British Navy. As it was the ship’s purser who was responsible for issuing the rum. The Rum became known as Pusser’s Rum in a sort of slang derivation of the term ‘Purser’s Rum’.
Although the naval tradition of the daily tot had ended, in 1979 Charles Tobias obtained the rights and the blending information for the British Naval Rum, and formed Pusser’s Ltd. on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. His company produces their Pusser’s Rum following the blending information and the traditions of the Admiralty, including producing the rum from wooden pot stills just as the had been the tradition for over 200 years.
In The Bottle 4.5/5
I love the shelf presentation of this rum. A nifty decanter with a nice sealed cork. There is also a nice label designed to make you feel like this really is an authentic Navy Rum. When I brought this rum out for the first time for my friends and I to enjoy, the universal reaction to the bottle presentation was Ooooooooo!
When an unopened bottle gets this reaction we have to score it well.
In The Glass 9/10
The aroma from the glass is very rich with smells of deep dark brown sugar tainted in old wood with a bevy of hot spice as well. The complexity is such that I have to let the rum sit in my glass for a few minutes before I can further separate some of the different scents. These different aromas are not competing for individual victory, but rather playing from the same playbook in unison. I discern hints of cinnamon, and an aroma which reminds me of sap from the inside bark of a poplar tree. This may be the residue from the wooden pot still imparting itself into the rum, or more probably it may be from the 15 years of aging (perhaps even both).
The rum is very enticing yet a little intimidating as the sappy smell at the end is just a little acrid and hints at a bitterness that may lurk in the bowels of the drink.
In My Mouth 57/60
My word what a taste experience. A full thrust of spice and brown sugar. Not that pale yellow-brown sugar you buy in most grocery stores; but the rich dark brown sugar you find in specialty shops and bakeries. The spices remind me of hot cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, allspice and cloves; and the mouth-feel is oily leaving these spices lingering. Again at the very back of the palate we taste the wood and the acrid sap. The woodiness doesn’t actually taste like oak. It is more like beechwood or poplar. This may sound bad, but trust me when I tell you that it really isn’t. It is as if a dash of bitters were added to fully round out the taste experience.
Pusser’s claims that their rum is the single malt of the rum world, and to some extent I agree. More truthfully I think they have created a rum which is very much like a fine old brandy or cognac with complexity and character which is off the charts. Having said that, the rum-like flavours and spices remain in the forefront, while the woodiness, and tart sap stay in the background. They are just aggressive enough to be discerned and appreciated but they in no way overwhelm the palate.
In The Throat 13.5/15
The oiliness noted in the mouth really coats the throat which allows the woody sap-like flavours to linger. I like the long finish, which would have scored even higher if some of the rums sweetness had lingered as long as the spicy sap.
The Afterburn 9/10
This is a fantastic rum which belongs on my bar shelf alongside my most spirits. It has a full spicy flavour which is reminiscent of well-aged cognac. Each time I sample it, I enjoyed it just a little more. I suspect I will return again quite soon.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)