Pusser’s Navy Rum
by Darcy O'Neil on February 2011
Here is a rum with a long history in the Commonwealth navies of the world. Only in the last few decades has Pusser's Navy Rum been available to us commoners, because it was exclusively made for the navy fleets of the world. After the British navy stopped issuing tots in 1970 and the Canadian Navy in 1973, Pusser’s eventually made its way into the commercial world. The version I’m tasting is the Canadian Blue Label version, which is 42% ABV, which is the lowest alcohol rum that Pusser’s offers, the US version weighs in at about 48% ABV and the German version is 54%.
For more than 300 years the British navy supplied their men with a tot of rum, and Pusser’s was one of the rums that many sailors would remember. Because of it sole us in the navy, it gained a mysticism that made many people seek it out. This is the type of marketing you can’t buy for pretty much any price. Captain Morgan’s use to make a navy rum for the Canadian navy, but it’s hard to find any information on it. Maybe the good Captain should relaunch their version.
When you read about the making of Pusser’s rum, one thing stands out, it is made using wooden pot stills. Yes, instead of metal, like copper, the pot part of the still is actually made from oak. According to their website, the wood is about 200 years old, and the pot is very inefficient at distilling, which provides the unique flavour of this rum. Because of this inefficiency, you are going to get lots of congeners, which translates to lots of flavour.
Pusser’s Navy Rum Tasting Notes
Appearance: Deep golden orange like a well aged bourbon.
Nose: There is a big strong rum and oak aroma that you can smell as you pour and it is very pleasing. If you put your nose to the glass you get more of the oak but with some smokiness and subtle sweetness.
Taste: Smooth with strong flavours of wood and good rum characteristics. It has a pleasant warm, tannic finish that stays with your for a few minutes.
I couldn’t find an age statement for the Canadian version of Pusser’s Navy Rum, but the decanter versions available states an age of 17 years. I’m going to assume that this rum is fairly well aged because of the relative smoothness compared to the high level of congeners included with the distillation process.
This is a very good rum, but not in the sense of something like a fine cognac or scotch. This rum has a lot of flavour that stands out. This rum may actually have too much flavour for people who enjoy a fine cognac. Obviously, this extra flavour makes Pusser's a great mixing rum. A nice mug of Bumbo or the obvious Pusser’s Pain Killer are definitely good cocktail options. This rum can stand up to almost any fruit juice and still come through with its unique flavour. Hence the good mixing quality.