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Recommendable to most
A pure pot still distillate that stands on its own. One of the most tasteful rums you can come across and together with the ABV of 57% it will get your attention! Nosing this will give you a hint of what to expect; rotten bananas, napalm orange and about every other fruit in various stages of decay are present. Doesn't sound good, but it sure smells good!
Describing the flavours on the palate is a bit tricky as it is so packed with different aromas it is hard to get them all; when you focus on one specific part of the taste six others come rushing by in an instant. So I won't even try and just say it is very present, very fruity and very bold. Don't let the navy strenght fool you; this is not a navy style rum, it is just bottled at a gunpowder proof ABV.
Don't be a fool and start with this as your first rum as it might scare you off forever but once you are a bit used to dry and high-ester rums you simply must try this fellow. Don't be afraid for it as in the end it is a rather mellow spirit, despite the 57% and the strong and bold flavours.
An extra mark for Smith & Cross because they have the guts to put this remarkable rum in this form and at this price on the market!
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.
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.
As others have said, this rum punches you in the gut and throws rotten bananas in your face - and delivers the most complex and wonderful result to a grown up experienced enough to appreciate it. It turns a shaken piña colada into a banana flavored cocktail and paired with a high-end agricole, it delivers an elevated Mai Tai.
As for enjoying it on its own, I’m going to accept my limitations as a lover and admit that I need something a little less batship crazy.
I’m new to this whole rum world, and I’m happy to have found this bottle in the beginning of my journey. I love high proof bourbons and honestly love this rum just as much.
"Smith and Cross Navy Strength rum review and cocktail suggestions by A Mountain of Crushed Ice"
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