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Recommendable to most
Well, now this is a rum like no other I have encountered so far.
It's smells heavy and it taste even more heavy. Expecting a rum, the taste and experience is weird, at first.
But give it some time. It's starts to grow on you, like a fungus. You know you should stop it, but you don't. Will it turn out to be a heavy fungus, or a filthy mold? It's certainly a dirty drink...
Let the fungus grow on you.
Edit: Damn thing realy grew on me. Just editted my review and upped it 1 whole point. This is one dirty drink, I tell you that!
If you know what you want and that thing is funk than it's hard to get funkier than Smith and Cross.
Like Laphroaig it's easily one of my favorites for its unabashed pungency. Shocking to the uninitiated and haunting to those who have sipped it straight.
Maybe not a 10 in the overall scheme of Rum balance and flavor but deserving of a 10 for what it does better than most and thats the dunder funk.
The blast from the nose lets you know quick that isn't anything that is a standard rum. The collection of flavors such as pepper, tobacco, sugar cane and dark chocolate make this rum something to enjoy in excellent cocktails or on its own.
*Note* This is NOT a beginners rum. If you are new to rum, go load up on experience before you step in the ring with Smith & Cross because otherwise this will feel like an assault on your preconceived notions of rum and you won't appreciate the amazing attributes of this gem. A sugared Solera this is not.
This is hands down the most pungent rum you will ever find. In the words of Gwen Stefani "this shit is bananas! B-A-NAN-A-S!" All pop references aside this is an amazingly aromatic rum. I mean the most aromatic rum I have ever been around without question. Merely opening the bottle is akin to instantly being playfully smacked in the face with a ripe banana while you are tied up and blindfolded. But it is so nice that, despite the pungency, I just want to stick my face in the bottle and camp out there for a week. When I do stick my nose in the glass I pick up deeper notes: Bananas Foster, Fruit Punch, and caramelized fruit sugars all powerfully washing over me like a wave on an incoming tide. This is a navy strength rum at 57% ABV so I already know it is going to be strong.
Taking a sip, this is powerful stuff even over an ice ball. The palate it is just as strong as the nose. Immediately, I get a flash of White Oak, Fruit Punch, fermented apples, sangria soaked fruit, molasses, brine, and salted caramel in a swirling maelstrom overlaying a chest warming heat. After the heat dissipates I am left with a medley of apples, sour cherries, rhubarb, and pear brandy in the perfect ratio. A long time after putting the glass down I can still taste the esters. Whereas Mount Gay XO had an unpleasant sour aftertaste like chewing on leather, the sour here is perfectly accentuated in a way that is altogether extremely pleasant and present. It reminds me, in a way, of a much more masterful version of some Apple Moonshine I once had in Appalachia - but in rum form with a touch of cherries and rhubarb. Despite its extraordinarily powerful flavor profiles this is a pure rum with no added sugars or flavors. This is all natural, baby.
This is some dangerous stuff because I want to keep sipping on it despite the high ABV and repeated assault on my senses.
This rum is a masterclass in the unique attributes of Jamaican pot still rum. I love it and I will definitely keep a bottle of this around. At $27 a bottle, this is amazing value and an essential part of any rum drinker's cabinet....and I haven't even tried mixing with it yet, which by most accounts is where it shines the brightest.
Added sugar: 0g
*Update* My nose is permanently stuck inside my snifter while drinking this this more so than any other rum in my cabinet. I mean, really I could just sit here and smell this rum all night long. The nose on this rum is absolutely dreamy and the palate almost lives up to it...almost. This is an easy 9/10 for me.
As only my second Jamaican rum, S&C blew me away with its unstoppable ester funk and high proof burn. I foolishly sipped some straight out of the just-opened bottle and blew out my taste buds. Then I made a Mai Tai without splitting it with another rum—mistake number two. So why such a high rating? Because when properly yielded, it is masterful in cocktails. Whether blended with a lighter rum, stirred with ginger beer, or balanced with citrus, it’s a superb mixer that manages to both showcase its own unique character and also elevate its fellow ingredients. I will always keep a bottle to represent some of the best in the Jamaican style.
It's great at what it is meant for and that's in Tiki drinks. Straight? That'll take you a while.
edit- 2 years later? Well, damn if I didn't come all the way around on this one. Enjoyable with a bit of water, but I enjoy it most as an addition to fruit-based drinks.
Couldn’t have asked for more in a jamaican rum. Old bananas and tropical fruit, which come alive after letting it breath for a fee minutes and cube of ice.
Yes, it is strong, but it is not harsh, nor is it acrid tasting the way a young scotch or mixing rum might taste. It is sophisticated and complex, and has a beautiful finish that is sweeter than I expected. Lot's of "funk" though less briny than Hampden. The funk here is fruity and spiced tasting. This rum is priced like a much poorer quality rum than it is. If you are interested in something "adult" and ever interesting, go here. This is definitely not for beginners, though.
Very good rum, better than Plantation OFTD, Eight Islands and Kill Devil Navy Strength.
The nose is great, very rich, intensive and fruity. No need to dilute it, it's perfect at 57% and still mild (this comment is not for beginners and sweet rum lovers).
The taste is not as balanced as the nose, backed apples are very intensive. I would mix some high ester Hampden inside. But it's also fruity without the high ester pineapple note and still delicious.
Very cheap btw, I paid just 25€ for the bottle of 0.7l and with 57% it has exceptionally good value. If you love strong and fruity rum, this is the best you can get for under 50€.
Would give this one 80 points.
Nose: backed apple, sweet and fruity with papaya, green banana, herbs/gras, pumpkin, caramel, honey
Taste initial: backed apple, honey, grasy notes
Taste middle: honey, some bitterness, dunder (ripe vegetables), citrus, spice
Finish: long, with spice, bitter notes and honey, backed apple again, some barrel
Aftertaste: very fruity, peppermint
Value (23€): +5/5
Experience level: professional
Experiment 1: just mixed a hint of my 9y Hampden DOK inside. I ruined the nose, got a lot of citrus but almost no pineapple, killed the grasy notes and the honey. But the taste became a beauty, much more balanced. Less dunder, more fruits.
I'm not satisfied with it. I'm going to try a <>H Hampden next time.
Experiment 2: just mixed a 17y Bristol Caroni 1998 inside. The nose bacame less fruity and dirty (earth and barrel). Still some papaya left.
The taste is again very good, the honey and dunder is still present but overall less fruity.
Experiment 3: I mixed a hint of Kill Devil Hampden C<>H 10y 64% inside. The dunder in the nose is gone, there is pineapple and citrus in the nose. Also some grasy notes and other fruits are left.
The taste is overhelmed by pineapple. The grasy notes are gone.
It's not bad, there is some malt in the aftertaste and the honey is also still in the taste. Good blend, strong and spicy. Very complex.
Better than pure Smith and Cross? Maybe, would rate it 83.
Experiment 4: Mixed with Hampden Estate 8 is the best combination. The dunder is almost gone the whole composition is the best one. It's balanced, fruity with malt in the aftertaste. Just a beautiful blend and a great Hampden. This is a 85 for me.
"Smith and Cross Navy Strength rum review and cocktail suggestions by A Mountain of Crushed Ice"
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