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Rum Reviews

Royal Navy Rum, 51 Years Old, 1970, Old Spirits Co

Tasting this bottle of Royal Navy rum straight from a single flagon filled in December 1970, and bottled by Old Spirits Co in 2021. Royal Navy rums have always fascinated me, its history, the blend, from how it all began in the Caribbean, to the creation of a blend sourced from all corners of the British Commonwealth.


(Image Source: @weixiang_liu)

Nosing reveals a spirit with multiple layers of complexity. Most dominant is that of old musty books, much like an aged demerara of the 70s and 80s, with savoury notes of oyster sauce and shiitake mushrooms. Hidden below these dominant notes are interchanging wafts of five spice, citrus, a tad of coffee, and light prunes.

The palate is a real surprise; while the nose resembled an old, heavy rum, the palate reveals a light mouthfeel, uplifting and fresh, almost like a young sherry-oaked Port Mourant! Sweet cherries, dark chocolates and coffee can all be found, with the wood influence coming in the middle, nuts, warm bread. The finish is long and sweet, more prunes, tannins, and some vegetal notes.

This is the magic of Royal Navy blend. It has never had a fixed recipe, but the complexity, the flavours, the abv, they all meld in nicely to make it an amazing rum. A real unicorn that can never be replicated again!

Your occasional rum addict!