The Story of Black Tot Day
The Navy had always carried alcohol on ships for its crew and for trading. While wine and beer did not keep well and took up a lot of space, spirits were the perfect alternative. The first ever rum was given out after a battle off the coast of Jamaica in 1655, but rum would not become an official navy provision until many decades later. In 1731 the first official naval rum rations were offered across the British fleet.
The Navy (unintentionally) became one of the pioneers of rum blending, with one of the largest rum holdings in the world (around 4 million gallons was stored in large open wooden vats at any given time). The Navy would buy rum principally from English ports – Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, and later Trinidad. However it would also buy rum from other countries if the supplies were needed. A true navy rum is a ‘world blend’ of almost all available rums – there is no recipe.
For over 200 years, sailors could choose to have their daily rum or to be paid the equivalent worth instead. Most of them chose rum! In 1970, it was voted in Parliament to stop the rum ration given the fears surrounding the more complex technology now in operation across the navy. Funerals were held on ships for the ‘day the rum died’ and 31st July 1970 became forever known as Black Tot Day.
The story started back in 2010, when a parcel of flagons containing Traditional Navy rum, from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados was discovered in naval yards in the United Kingdom. For over forty years, this rum which for so long had fortified the spirits of the navy was barely touched. Elixir Distillers decided to bottle and release this historic rum as a tribute to the era: Black Tot The Last Consignment.
Inspired by the tradition of Navy rum, Elixir Distillers created a modern expression influenced by historic blending techniques. It blends rums from the Caribbean countries that would have been the cornerstones of the rum for the British Navy – Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica – to create a blend full of tropical, coffee, and chocolate notes.
Black Tot Day 2020 Celebrations
31st July 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Tot Day and we are partnering with Black Tot to make this day a very special one! On the 31st of July, Black Tot will be hosting 24 hours long of live tasting sessions with guest speakers from around the globe. More information to follow.
Throughout the month of July, Timeless & Tasty is offering a special price for the Black Tot Finest Caribbean Rum. The Black Tot team has an additional surprise: in some of the Black Tot gift tubes are also hidden secret ration cards. This rum ration card gives you a chance to win a Black Tot 50th Anniversary Gift, simply check www.blacktot.com if you are one of the winners (from 31st July 2020 onwards)!
Lastly, fans will also be in with a chance of winnings a month’s supply of rum rations (that’s three bottles of Black Tot Finest Carribean!) via a social media (instagram and facebook) competition which will run throughout the month of July. To celebrate the community spirit that the rum world embodies, entrants will need to record a video or take a photo of them celebrating rum with family or friends while reciting the ‘Tall Ships Toast’ – a toast that dates back over 400 years, celebrating rum and friendship near and far. More details on the competition will be shared via the @BlackTotRum Instagram and Facebook accounts throughout July.
Originally found painted outside an old distillery in Ireland, the ‘Tall Ships Toast’ goes as follows:
There are tall ships, And there are small ships, And there are ships that sail the sea, But the best ships, Are friendships, So here’s to you and me!