Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof – Black Label

What is it? Well, it’s a blended rum produced by Pusser’s. Pusser’s was founded in 1979 and has the rights to the blending information used for the original British Naval rum, the intention is that they produce a rum which is as close to the original Naval rum as possible given current global rum stocks and availability. The blend isn’t widely known, but from what I understand used to be mainly made up of rum from Guyana and Trinidad, I’ve seen bottles saying this on but my bottle only says “product of Guyana” so I’m guessing the blend has changed a little. Pusser’s state the blend is “predominately pot still” and I understand this to be from the Port Mourant wooden pot still. Naturally, Pusser’s keep their cards close to their chest so we’re working off online research, hearsay and guess work….as far as I’m concerned it’s fairly young rum, blended.

Coloured, chill filtered and bottled at 54.5% abv. Now this isn’t gunpowder proof. The term “gunpowder proof” refers to a strength by which grains of gunpowder that are soaked in the rum will ignite, which is actually 57% abv or 100 degrees British proof. The term “proof” comes from the rum being proven to be full strength.

Sugar? Yes, I’m afraid so. Only around 7 g/l, which isn’t really that much so we’ll let them off.

Nose: Big and rich, dark molasses, liquorice, aniseed balls and Big Red gum. Treacle, actually more creamy so maybe treacle toffee that you get on bonfire night, and thick butterscotch. Shoe polish, lots of black coffee and a little vanilla creeps in. There are slight herbal notes of marjoram, olives and a touch of an old boat engine. Not hugely complex but plenty going on. This is pretty much the exact smell I was expecting from a Naval rum.

Palate: Thick mouth feel, hmmm, this is pretty viscous and feels a lot sweeter than the sugar data would imply. Something not all too “natural” about this. Yep, as goes the nose so goes the palate; treacle toffees, over brewed black coffee, molasses, caramels and prunes. Very heavy and too much on the sweeter side for me. Some good notes of dirt/soil, burnt toast, shoe polish, mushrooms and pipe tobacco.

Finish: Medium length, a bit sticky. Molasses again with the treacle. A sugary buzz and flattening of the finish….but still some good flavours with dark chocolate, figs and Marmite. It’s young rum, not massively complex and pretty much follows the nose and palate.

Thoughts? As I expected really and very typical of my thoughts of a “Navy” rum. Certainly not the most complex rum in the world but it’s a real Ronseal rum (it does what it says on the tin), which is fine by me because that’s what I bought it for. I’m not sure if this purpose of this rum is to mix into cocktails or not but it does sip very well and for the price I wouldn’t really want to be mixing it anyway, I’d use Wood’s 100 or Goslings if I wanted a Navy mixing rum.

Look, I don’t have an issue with less complex rums that have been “concocted” a little, I just want to know what I’m buying and be able to make an informed decision. I decided to buy this based on what I thought I’d get and it totally delivered, so I’m happy with that. At £30 it was a pretty decent buy too and worth it in my opinion.

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