On July 31, 1970 at 11:00 am, the last rum ration was issued aboard the ships of the Royal Navy, thus ending a 300 year-old tradition. This day would be come to be known as Black Tot Day. While the last rum rations had already been given out, there was the matter of the left over rum to deal with, so the remaining rum stocks were transferred from their warehouses in Deptford, Gosport and Devonport to a government bonded warehouse. Here the large oak marrying casks were emptied into wicker-clad imperial gallon stone flagons, and there they sat for nearly forty years, save the occasional pour at state dinners and royal weddings. w Naval records indicate the rum was imported to England from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad in oak casks by E.D & F. Man & Co., rum merchants to the Royal Navy since 1784. While the precise age is unknown, records indicate this rum was likely distilled in the 1940’s.
Fast forward nearly forty years, and Specialty Drinks Ltd acquires the remaining stock. Each flagon had a slightly different character, so they blended the flagons and bottled the entire lot at 94.2 proof (those stone flagons did a good job of securing their cargo—almost no alcohol was lost in four decades). About six thousand bottles were released for sale in 2010 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Black Tot Day at a retail price of ~$1,000 per bottle.