HMS Victory Navy Strength Rum is bottled at 57% ABV by the Isle of Wight Distillery. It is a specially blended rum made with rums from around the Caribbean including Demerara Rum from Guyana and rums from Trinidad and Jamaica. The rum is blended and the shipped to the Isle of Wight before it is transferred to rest in casks using an oak stave from HMS Victory herself, adding an extra depth of character from the Royal Navy’s most illustrious warship.
HMS Victory Navy Strength Rum is designed to be reminiscent of the taste of traditional ‘Rum Tots’ issued on board naval ships. HMS Victory Navy Strength Rum was launched on board HMS Victory on 31st July 2018 to coincide with ‘Black Tot Day’, that fateful day in 1970 on which the last daily rum ration (the tot) was issued to Royal Navy Sailors. HMS Victory Navy Strength Rum is produced in partnership, and under license, with The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth where HMS Victory is on display. HMS Victory was launched in 1765 and is the oldest commissioned warship in the world. A portion of the proceeds from this gin go towards the ongoing restoration of this historic ship.
Why is 57% ABV called “Navy Strength”? In the eighteenth century all Royal Naval ships had to carry on board a quantity of 1 00° proof gin. This was measured slightly differently then but this equates to the modern measure of 57% ABV. It was discovered that gunpowder soaked in alcohol with a strength of more than 57% could still be ignited and this became the standard test for Navy Strength or ‘gunpowder proof’ gin, to make sure that supplies had not been watered down.
The Isle of Wight Distillery was founded by a winemaker and a brewer who had long thought about making a gin. Conrad Gauntlet started growing vines and making wine at Rosemary vineyard in 1985 and, with over 30 acres of vineyards, is one of the largest wine producers on the Isle of Wight. Xavier Baker has been brewing beer since 1995 and first cut his teeth at the Ventnor Brewery and, after a couple of detours in whisky (Ireland and Scotland) Isle of Wight Distillery he eventually arrived at Goddard’s Brewery near Ryde. The pair soon met and a plan to produce Gin was conceived. They make two main Gins, the Mermaid Gin and an HMS Victory Navy Strength Gin, as Rock Salt Vodka. Watch this space for their Isle of Wight Whisky coming soon.