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Recommendable to most
Pot stilled brilliance, real rum bottled at 57% so needs watering in the glass and a rest before drinking but is a taste explosion. A beautiful thing on it's own or with a full bodied cigar. Not for sugary liqueur rum lovers. A real rum gem.
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.
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.
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.
Very good rum, better than Plantation OFTD, Eight Islands and Kill Devil Navy Strength.
The nose is great, very rich, intensive, fruity and complex (full of aromas). 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, I would mix some high ester Hampden inside.
But it's also fruity (no pineapple) 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 rum, this is the best you can get for under 50€.
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 also as a 9.
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 perfect Hampden. This is a 10 for me.
I am typically a Rye Bourbon drinker, but I do love to grab a bottle of rum from time to time. I’ve typically grabbed Plantation or El Dorado. This one is very strong and would suggest on ice if you plan to sip. Love the spicy fruity flavor. Needs some chill and a bit watered down from the ice to tame it. It’s 57% Alc, if you’re surprised it’s strong.... well that’s on you.
*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.
Look at this! Tastewise it's a 7 at least. But seeing the low price, it's even an 8. Full frontal Jamaican Funk in navy strength. Good not only in a quality drink, but also neat - not lying, I tried that and it opened the door for me towards Jamaican Rum that I love ever since.
I wasn't expecting to like this one as much as i did but it really is such an interesting rum! Its probably the most flavourful rum i have tried yet and instantly makes any cocktail exciting. I can also drink this on its own or with ice because i enjoy the funky burn but this definitely shines best in cocktails like Mai Tais!
As a sipper, 7 is being generous. Funky stuff, to be sure. But as a mixer in Tiki recipes? An absolute 10. Indispensable in any serious bar, hits the funky notes you need to make an unforgettable mix.
"Smith and Cross Navy Strength rum review and cocktail suggestions by A Mountain of Crushed Ice"
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