Charleston 10/8/2018 12:00:00 PM
News / Food & Beverage

Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof Rum Take Top Honors at Spirit Business Rum and Cachaca Competition

Over Proof Expression Earns Highly-Coveted Master’s Award

Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof, the last rum issued by the modern Royal Navy to its enlistees in 1970, has taken top honors at the Spirits Business Cachaca Competition.  Pusser’s 15-year-old (Aged Rum over 13 years) earned gold.

The Spirits Business gathered together a group of drinks experts at The Rum Kitchen in London’s Notting Hill to assess the state of the category. Its Rum Masters 2018 competition was assessed by three panels of tasters via blind taste testing. 

Anthony Moss, Director of Strategic Planning at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) who chaired the final panel described Pusser’s expression as “the dream combination of esters together with lovely integrated oak and rancio.”

Gunpowder Proof, an aged, overproof expression at 54.5 percent alcohol which was the formula last used by the Admiralty was launched in seven U.S. markets on Black Tot Day, July 31, 2016 and has now expanded to  25 major markets and counting.

“The Masters for Gunpowder Proof is monumental as it makes its debut as the best over-proof rum in the world,” said Pusser’s CEO, Gary Rogalski.

The unique component of Gunpower Proof is rum distilled from vintage wooden pot stills, a process that provides a depth of flavor far beyond that of mass-produced rums distilled from “modern” semi-automatic metal column stills.  The two existing wooden pot stills first put in use in the early 1700s and located in Guyana’s Demerara River Valley, impregnate the rum with esters (naturally occurring organic flavoring compounds) far beyond those of any other rum.  What results is a truly unique, award-winning taste.

The name “Pusser’s” is nothing more than a corruption of the word “Purser,” the Royal Navy ship’s supply officer who retained the stocks of rum.  Before hydrometers, the ships Purser would test rum strength by mixing a few grains of gunpower with rum to see if it would ignite under the heat of a magnifying glass.  If it did that was ‘proof’ the rum was “at strength,” If it was not, the Purser was threatened with bodily harm for “watering down” the rum.

Rogalski said the overproof spirit is brandy-like and surprisingly smooth, easy to drink neat, in a snifter or your favorite cocktail or as a floater to add additional spirit to any cocktail.

The daily issue of rum, a tradition which goes back three centuries, ended July 31, 1970, and is affectionately known as “Black Tot Day” in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

 The Admiralty formula, a unique blend of rums, was ceded to the Company’s founder, Charles Tobias, in return for his promise to support Sailor’s Tot Fund, now part of the Royal Navy and Marine Charitable Fund.

 Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof has won several awards in Europe including Gold at the International Sprits Challenge, a Master’s and Gold medal in The Rum Masters Competition and Third Place for World’s Best Dark Rum in the World Rum Awards. It also won Gold for Best in Class for the Overproof category in the Rum XP awards. This is in addition to the many other awards Pusser’s lower proof 3-year aged, and 15-year aged spirits from the same stills have already won.

 Recent Awards:

 Gold, The Spirits Business, The Rum Masters 2018

Gold, The Spirits Business, The Rum Masters 2017

Best in Class, Rum XP Awards 2016

Gold, Consumer Rum Jury 2016

Gold, Worlds Best Rum, World Rum Awards 2015

Gold, Best Dark Rum, World Rum Awards 2015

Gold, Category Gold, World Rum Awards 2015

Gold, Best Overproof, World Rum Awards 2015

Gold, Best Spiced Rum, The Fifty Best 2015

Gold, The Rum Masters, The Spirits Business 2015

 Tasting Notes:

Color: Clear, dark coppery amber with burnished copper highlights
Nose: Pungent molasses, treacle, toffee, honey and vanilla with oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
Body: Full-bodied with a more enhanced flavor profile than the lower proof Blue Label
Finish: Long finish, and despite its strength, smooth and mellow


About Pusser’s Rum

 Pusser’s Rum is produced in strict accordance with Admiralty blending specifications last used by the Royal Navy for issue to its fleet, a tradition which began in 1655 when it first served rum as its spirit of choice, with extra “tots” being offered before and after some of the most infamous battles in history. In massive wood pot stills, approaching 300 years old, Pusser’s continues to produce liquid history without the aid of flavoring agents and is 100 percent natural. Pusser’s Rum is highly decorated and has taken several Gold Medals in the highly acclaimed International Wine & Spirits Festival and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Pusser’s Rum Limited is a British Virgin Island Company with administrative offices in Charleston, South Carolina. Its products are imported into the United States by Shaw-Ross International Importers.

For more information on Pusser’s Rum Ltd and its brands, please visit

About Shaw-Ross International Importers, LLC

Founded in 1968 as a wine and spirit importer representing a handful of brands, Shaw-Ross has grown into one of the nation's leading importers representing leading

suppliers from around the world. Shaw-Ross continues to evolve its portfolio to keep ahead of the ever-changing wine and spirits. For additional information go to

EDITORS NOTE: Imagery and sample requests can be made through Peter Nasca at the above address.