Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve Rum – Limited 2021 Edition


ABV: 54.5%

Another first class blending achievement, this time with an Australian twist.

While comparisons with the inaugural release are inevitable, the Master Blender’s Reserve is not simply a slightly older version of last year’s 50th Anniversary rum, but a different composition altogether. Different countries, still types and ages have contributed with Head Blender, Oliver Chilton opting for a ‘fruitier’ expression. It also celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the last rum ration given to the Australian Navy after separating from the Royal Navy, although Australians serving on British ships could still receive rum – in 1921 this was also forbidden. Adding substance to the sentiment, 6.7% of the blend is from Beenleigh Distillery (ten years aged in Queensland and four years continentally).

At its heart is the ‘perpetual’ base spirit (14% of last year’s 50th Anniversary release), re-casked into ex-sherry butts and blended with rums between 9 and 24 years old from Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica. These make up the majority of the blend. Even from a 20ml sample they come through powerfully on the nose which has a drier, well-aged Demerara-like feel, developing dense aromas of fruit cake, bush honey and zesty peel matched by nutmeg, vanilla, ginger and cinnamon. Stay with it longer and you’ll discover even more. The early palate stages are a little understated – call it elegant (this is anything but an overly-sweet contemporary style). Off-dry flavours of liquorice, roast nut, coffee, brown sugar, dried banana, leather and spice dovetail into a long, fanning flourish of intense, estery complexity. That sensational late burst seems to be Chilton’s signature, and it unfolds in slow motion, drawn out with molasses cake, warming cinnamon and bittersweet dark chocolate as well as hints of exotic fruits. The alcohol is less and less discernible with each sip, inverse to the stunning persistence of flavour. 6000 bottles are available globally, however Australia’s allocation will be closer to several hundred. Decanted from the casks with zero added sugar and no chill filtration, for full transparency, refer to the details and ratios of the blend below. 54.5% Alc./Vol.

The Blend

 21.1% – 11YO Trinidad Distillers, Trinidad (Column Still)

18.5% – 10YO Trinidad Distillers, Trinidad (Column Still)

17.7% – 10YO Foursquare, Barbados (Pot / Column Still)

14.1% – Black Tot 50th Anniversary (Perpetual Blend)

13.5% – 17YO Demerara Distillers, Guyana (Column Still)

6.7% – 14YO Beenleigh, Australia (Pot Still)

5.3% – 9YO Hampden, Jamaica (Pot Still)

2.8% – 24YO Trinidad Distillers, Trinidad (Column Still)

0.3% – Original Royal Navy Blend (Perpetual Blend 1800 – 1970)