"Not for the Fainthearted"
Whether a merchant seaman, a navy tar, or a pirate, life aboard 17th & 18th century ships was not an easy existence. It required skill, resilience and courage to embark on long voyages through often perilous seas. Facing unpredictable weather, limited provisions, and at times an unrelenting foe, both pursued and pursuers took comfort in their ration of rum.
Our robust rums are intended to cheer the spirit by evoking the bold flavor of these bygone days. Like the life on board these ships, our rums are "Not for the Fainthearted".
Our 111 proof Royal Fortune Reserve is comparable in strength to historic 18th century naval rum rations.
Following England's conquest of Jamaica in 1655, a half pint or "2 gills" of rum gradually replaced beer and brandy as the daily ration given to British sailors in the Royal Navy. Served to the sailor straight, this caused additional problems, as some saved their rum rations for several days to drink all at once. Due to the subsequent illness and disciplinary problems, in 1740 Admiral Edward Vernon (who was nicknamed "Old Grog" because of the grogram coat he wore) ordered that the half pint of rum be mixed with one quart of water and issued in two servings - before noon and after the end of the working day. This change to a "grog" ration became part of the official regulations of the Royal Navy in 1756, and lasted for more than two centuries.
Vernon also recommended adding sugar and lemon or lime juice to make the ration more palatable, and to prevent scurvy, but this was a voluntary choice. Until an official daily issue of lemon juice was introduced into the Royal Navy in 1795, scurvy continued to debilitate entire fleets. When a few years later, Spain allied itself with Napoleon's France and Spanish lemons became unobtainable, West Indian limes were substituted. It was from this time that British seaman obtained the nickname 'limeys'.
Tradition holds that ships' pursers and sailors would "prove" the rum's strength from suppliers by checking that gunpowder doused with rum would still burn (thus verifying that rum was of sufficient potency). ("Proof" in the United Kingdom was always stated as the alcohol content X 1.75, whereas in the United States it is stated as double the percentage alcohol content.) The Royal Navy rum itself was often procured from distillers in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the British Virgin Islands.
In 1824 the Royal Navy rum ration (also known as the "tot") was cut in half to
1 Gill, and again in 1850 to 1/2 Gill (one-eighth of an imperial pint), the final traditional 'tot' that stood until 1970. The final rum tot was 54.6 % alc/vol.
Fortunately for pirates, no restrictive rations applied. They consumed rum whenever they captured it, or whenever they could afford it. We believe they would find our 55.5% alc/vol (111-proof) Royal Fortune Reserve familiar to their times, and much to their liking. Named after Bartholomew Roberts' flagship, the Royal Fortune, our highly robust yet smooth, aged rum originates from those same historical regions of the West Indies. A blend of premium rums from Barbados and Trinidad, our reserve rum has been aged in American white oak bourbon barrels in the tropical climate of each spirit's origin. It is then transported to Europe to be blended by a company with over 300 years experience in rum. From Europe it is transported to Santa Barbara, California to be bottled by an experienced craft distiller. The batch number and batch date is hand-recorded on each bottle.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of our fine sipping rum neat, or in one of our signature cocktails.