Pusser’s 15 Yr Old Navy Rum
Review: Pusser’s 15 Yr Old Navy Rum (Nelson’s Blood) 91/100
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted October 2009
In The Bottle 5/5
I love the shelf presentation of this rum. A nifty decanter with a nice sealed cork. Nice label designed to make you feel like it is an authentic Naval Rum. But what I liked best was the little booklet attached to the stem of the bottle with the history of the rum and its unique distillation. Other Rums are aged in wood, but Pussers is, according to the booklet, the only production rum in the world to be distilled in a wooden still. When I brought this rum out for the first time for my friends and I to enjoy the universal reaction to just the bottle presentation was Ooooooooo! When an unopened bottle gets this reaction we have to score it 5 out of 5.
In The Glass 9.5/10
The aroma from the glass is very rich. I get a deep dark brown sugar tainted in old wood. This is very spicy as well. I have to let the rum sit in my glass for a few minutes before I can separate some of the different smells indicating a complex yet well balanced nose. The aromas are not competing for individual victory but rather playing from the same playbook in unison. Hints of cinnamon, and at the very end a kind of a smell which reminds me of sap from the inside bark of a poplar tree. I think this is the residue from the wooden still imparting itself into the rum or may be from the 15 years of aging (perhaps even both). This is very enticing yet a little intimidating as the sappy smell at the end is just a little acrid and hints at a bitterness that may lurk in the bowels of the drink. In spite of the sap this is truly one of the finest noses I have ever experienced with a rum.
In My Mouth 55/60
My word what a taste experience. A full thrust of spice and brown sugar. Not that pale yellow brown sugar you buy in most grocery stores but the rich dark brown sugar you find in specialty shops and bakeries. The spices hint at hot cinnamon and allspice. The mouth is oily leaving these hot spices lingering. Again at the very back of the palate we taste the wood and the acrid sap. The woodiness doesn’t actually taste like Oak. It is more like beechwood or poplar. This may sound bad but it really isn’t. It is as if a dash of bitters were added to fully round out the taste experience. Pussers claims that their rum is the single malt of the rum world, and to some extent I agree. More truthfully I think they have created a rum which is very much like a fine old brandy or cognac, the complexity is astounding. I really like however, how in spite of all this complexity, the Rum flavours and spices are foremost, while the woodiness, and tart sap stay in the background. They are just aggressive enough to be discerned and appreciated but in no way overwhelm the palate.
In The Throat 13.0/15
The oiliness noted in the mouth really coats the throat. But here we have the first flaw serious enough to note. The woody sappy flavour is the last to leave. Although I liked the compliment in my mouth, having that tart woodiness linger longer than the brown sugar and spice is not preferable. I like a long finish, but only when the best flavours are the ones that linger the longest.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
This is a quality rum which on uniqueness alone belongs on my shelf with other premium rums. But for all its glorious complexity and rich vibrant flavour, the ending has fallen a little flat. What I remember most is the acrid sappy aftertaste in my mouth and throat. This is confusing because the rum reaches levels of brilliance, but it just can’t keep this level of excellence all the way to the finish. However I would say that if you enjoy old aged oaky cognac then you will also enjoy Pusser’s 15 Yr Old Rum. I should also note that I have enjoyed this rum a little more each time I tried it. I suspect I will return very often.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)