Fittingly, Pusser’s Royal-Navy-style rum has its origins at sea. In 1978, entrepreneur and former Marine Corps member Charles Tobias was near Gibraltar on his yacht MAR.
He had set off to cross the Atlantic, but quickly realised that a small pump on the yacht had stopped working. Fortunately there was a Royal Naval vessel nearby, and the captain not only provided him with the replacement pump, but also a two-gallon jug of Pusser’s Rum for the journey. During his 14 days at sea Tobias realised that he 'had never tasted such good, full-flavoured rum'.
Being the entrepreneurial type, Tobias spent the next few years persuading the Admiralty to grant him the right to use the name, the formula and a white naval ensign for the bottle design. As part of their arrangement, Tobias offered to donate a percentage of each sale to the Royal Navy Sailor’s Fund, and Pusser’s Rum is now the fund’s largest source of external income.
Since production started, Pusser’s Rum has been made from the same Admiralty blend of five West Indian rums, to the same recipe as was given to sailors every day for centuries – up until the infamous Black Tot Day in 1970.
Types of Pusser’s Rum
Perhaps the most authentic in the Pusser’s Rum range is Gunpowder Proof, which not only uses the original recipe but is also produced at original Admiralty strength. Pusser’s Blue Label is a little lighter, while the newest addition to the range is Pusser’s Spiced Rum, made using locally-sourced Caribbean spices. In addition, fans of Pusser’s Rum should not miss out on its highly-rated 15-year-old variety.
Where Pusser’s Rum is made
Pusser’s Rum is made largely from the product of five pot stills, three in Guyana and two in Trinidad. Two of the stills in Guyana are some of the last remaining wooden pot stills in the world. The finished product, however, is now made in Barbados – although the rum’s spiritual home remains Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, where it had been bottled for decades. Visitors to the region are able to visit the Pusser’s Pub, which serves a variety of rum drinks including the Pusser’s Painkiller, developed by Tobias using inspiration from the Islands’ legendary Soggy Dollar Bar.