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Having done a side-by-side comparison, I'm going to compare this to Hamilton Pot Still rum—my previous Jamaican dark.
- Cleaner, minimalist modern/art deco label
- Higher ABV (57 v. 46.5)
- Lighter in color (compared to Hamilton Black version)
- Less pot-still pungency; "brighter"
- Hogo is different, and less pronounced
- Banana and rotting fruit
- More on the palate
- Lacks burnt caramel of Hamilton
- More oak & astringency
In the Throat
- Both go down smooth, despite their high ABV. S&C could use a drop of water (optional).
- Both are fantastic. They are similar in character, but have their differences. S&C is dryer, stronger, oakier, and lighter in color and aroma. But the fact that is is as smooth as it is at 57% speaks well to its creators. I can see how it has become the gold standard for this style of rum. For me, personally, I'll opt for the $5 cheaper Hamilton, which I find a tad more aromatic and Tiki-friendly. (Note: Comparative findings are a result of drinking neat. Perhaps in the future I'll be able to actually compare these in a cocktail and see if I learn something new!)
Let's start like this, whoever said they drank this neat is a lying sack of ship. I like bold rums, I am quite the fan of navy rum for this reason. Now this is something else. This is like seeing your good buddy finally get a girlfriend and she is Kate Upton, this is like expecting your first kiss and you get 3rd base. This is like falling out of an airplane without a parachute. Smelling the guy you get a bit of the appleton mixed with pussers type of vibe. Drinking it straight is like nothing else. You get sausage slapped in the mouth with so much flavor your mouth redlines and your brain even goes crazy. Basically you cannot drink this straight. Even in coke this is one bold rum that will take your coke out back, slap it around a few times, make it wear a dress and make it call it daddy. It starts like this, lick an oak cask, now burn your house down and snuff up a bunch of fumes, throw in some appleton/pussers blend and that is what you have. I would rate it 10/10 but it's so overbearing straight I just can't call it perfect. But holy goodness this is one you won't forget. Give it to a friend as a shot and watch their face.
I've never quite experienced the explosion of wafty spice that this stuff brings to the palette. I'd serve it in a flight to demonstrate the range of odd possibilities that rum makers explore, but wouldn't turn to this as a daily sipping rum. It's like an exciting girl that you can't stop thinking about, might leave your wife for, is spectacular in bed, but ultimately but you know she's nothing but a fling.
This smells like jet fuel. This tastes like someone force-fed you caramel and cherries, then threw a pineapple at your face. And the finish is just funkier than Uptown. For no discernible reason, I love it...
At 57% ABV (114 proof) this navy strength rum will kick your ass. I will stomp a mudhole in ya and walk it dry. Definitely not a rum for the uninitiated. Initially upon sipping one gets a taste of sweetness...molasses...a little vanilla...and then the burn hits...a burn which feels like a layer of skin is being eaten away in ones throat leaving a little tingling on the tongue. But that all fades rather quickly enticing one to take another sip. Almost as a double-dog dare. This is he-man's rum. The amber color belies how little aging goes into this rum. I really cannot identify the aroma in the bottle but it's a good aroma. Admittedly this is the first overproof rum I have sampled so I really have no frame of reference but from the flavor I would seriously think it would work well in mixed drinks especially frozen and fruit-based drinks. Quite an interesting rum.
[UPDATE: A day after posting my initial review I tried this rum with Coke Zero. For whatever it's worth I used my normal 3oz of rum mixed with the 16.9oz bottle of Coke Zero knowing full well this was going to have more of a "kick" than the normal 80 proof rums I normally use in Coke Zero. Although it wasn't horrible, it wasn't good either. Ended up tossing it and fixing another rum & Coke Zero with an 80 proof rum. I will try it again someday but with half the amount of the S&C Navy Strength rum and see how that works.]
Unmistakably Jamaican, pre-industrial pot-still firewater. This type of rum drove the Spanish distillers to create overly-filtered, flavorless white rum (e.g. Bacardi) because they were horrified by the assaultive aromas and rotting-goat-carcass aftertaste of Jamaican rums such as Smith & Cross. Now that it's goat-free, why not enjoy some on the rocks?
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.
The trend for rums has very much been for light, smooth, creamy, and vanilla-accented (think column-still) which also, subsequently, has little flavor. But when you're looking to mix, and you need something to punch through and integrate with tropical fruits, spices, and sweets, you reach for a rum like this. So much funk... its wonderful.
Truly excellent when used for classic punches and tiki drinks. Try it in a Jungle Bird, or blended with an aged Martinique for an original Maita'i.
The "Hogo" can be overwhelming for newbies, but to the experienced nose and palate, comes across as layers of over-ripe tropical fruits caramelized in dark sugar. I can pour it into a snifter and experience absolute euphoria for an hour just from smelling it. Highly recommended.
Probably to strong for most for cautious sipping, but after a while, when the mouth gets
used to the profound numbing effect, there are some nice flavors to enjoys. I mostly get
overripe (rotten) bananas and some chocolate, so a foul banana split if you will. Still,
everything feels very organic and natural. I didn't enjoy it diluted with water or anything
else. Instead I take small sips, mix it with saliva (that instantly jumps out as protection) and stir in my mouth, before sending it down the throat. I get the feeling that it probaby removes some of my plaque in the process.
Not in profile such as smoke and iodine but relative in pungency. Im sitting down with the Mezan Jam 2000 another Wedderburn rum. The Mezan is at 40% the S&C 57% so a water back is on the table as well. In side by side comparison the Mezan is a far easier and drinkable sipper. If your brave and not faint of heart the Smith & Cross is part and parcel to what pot still funky ester rum is. Most folks are probably going to view this as a mixing rum. This makes a great Dark and Stormy and I recommend Reeds over Fever. Keep it real.
Like Laphroaig you have to try this at least once in your life neat. For me it's easily one of my favorites for its unabashed pungency.
Not a 10 in the overall scheme of Rum but deserving of a 10 for what it does best and thats the dunder funk.
This is a serious challenging aromatic put-hair-on-your-chest (even if you're a woman) pot-stilled rum, with about 4-5 times the ester content of most rums.
If you find Pusser's or Appleton 12 year just too bland for you, give this one a try.
I approached this with caution because of reviews that describe it as too strong. I found it wonderful with a full low-sweetness flavor that truly suited a whiskey sipper like me.
I feel like assigning this rum a score is a bit of a lost cause. This drink truly doesn't give a shit.
The aroma is hard to pin down. There's a bit that's a little reminiscent of Appleton, maybe leaning a little more on the banana. I smell still funk and something not dissimilar from white wine? There's a good amount of alcohol on the nose, too. Not more than there should be, but a good amount. Almost whisky-like, all told.
The flavors hit you all at once, and I mean all at once. It's an experience. Smoke and spices, leather and rotten fruit, molasses, metal and fire. It's like you can taste the whole distillery. As you mull it over some of the flavors peter out and you're left with a long, medium bodied, bonfire sweetness, with a weird bilious undertone. The aftertaste is gentle and tastes something like rust and mango rind. Strange but pleasant.
I haven't tried this mixed yet, but I imagine something to give the flavors more space will be an adventure all on its own. This is one for every rum lover to try once, but I imagine once will be enough for many. Others might find themselves keeping a bottle in reserve to spice things up now and then.
Oh! And the bottle was an absolute steal. For less than Appleton's 12 year you get something both bolder and more complex, even if it ends up a little challenging because of that.
Let me say from the start that this is my first taste of 57% proof, to me it’s the taste before the strength.
For a rum that’s so light in colour, it certainly punches above its weight. The nose is to me, very confusing. Nothing really stands out, but a lot seems to be going on.
The burn appears to be harsh, but disappears almost immediately, leaving a pleasant warmth in the throat, and a long aftertaste that seems to invite more sips.
Only tried it as yet with my normal 1 ice cube, and more than happy.
Not a every day sipper, more of a bottle to dip into now and again.
Alkohol: 57 %
Původ: Spojené království/Jamajka
Aroma: Hodně zajímavá vůně. Klasická náplň českých rumových pralinek, ta mi tu přijde jako hlavní a nejvýraznější složka. Na svou sílu alkoholu mi přijde dost v pohodě. Je tu i trocha vůně ovocných pálenek, takový sladší Gold Cock style. Čokoláda, peckoviny, je to výrazné, krémové, pěkné. Asi 2/3 vůně jako by tvořily pralinky a třetinu Gold Cock whisky. Při delším zkoumání mi pak přišlo, jako by ta pralinková poloha místy přecházela až do lehké ředidlové vůně, ale nic negativního v tom nehledejte, opravdu zajímavá a v pohodě vůně. (86 b)
Chuť: Při prvním poválení po jazyku bych sílu 57% ani nehádal, ale to šlo jen o úplně první dojem. Po chvilce se už síla projeví. Po pralinkách ale v chuti není ani stopy, je to něco mezi grappou a slivovicí, k tomu se přidává seno, slámově bylinná dochuť, možná až do nějakého zeleného čínského čaje, ty mi vždy připomínaly spařené seno. (84 b)
Shrnutí: Ochutnal jsem v Pivnici U Čolka v Brně-Žabovřeskách, kde mají velmi pěknou rumovou nabídku, odhadem asi 150-170 druhů. Velmi zajímavý rum, pokud chcete zkusit něco nevšedního, dobrá volba.
Makes a very decent and strong daq, and a fun one to work in to punches. Hard to love but even harder to ignore its pull. Strong funky esters but a soft mid palate. You might wish it laid heavier in the sugars but then it would be overwhelmingly cloying all over the mouth.
definitely has a lot of single malt Scotch characteristics. malty sweetness, wood, hint of cognac, complex yet smooth (with quite a few drops of water). clean pleasant finish.
this tastes more Scotch than rum IMHO. I like it a lot. But if you are looking for the sweet/fruity rum taste, this may not be it. But I highly recommend to venture to it. For the price it is a safe investment.
It's great at what it is meant for and that's in Tiki drinks. Straight? No.
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.
Funky, pot-stilly goodness, a real traditional Jamaican treat.
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!
I can imagine Ahab's crew bolstering their courage with this at the approach of the great, white beast they pursue. Naval strength means if your knees are knocking while readying your harpoon, spilling your rum on the power charge, no worries - hit the cannon with the punk...she'll fire right up.
Not 'smooth'. A chain-mailed fist to the snout. Spice, orange, dark tea, molasses sugar but not burnt, the maximum security lifer whom you just got bunked with (goodbye virginity!), Pusser's on steriods....damn, this is good stuff! Add all the water you need, you can't dilute the stuff. Banana, cedar, tannins, and dried dark fruit bum-rush the palate. Toffee, pepper and a bit of salt - yeah...toffee - on the finish.
The people behind this deserve a standing ovation for daring to resurrect and bottle it, and are magicians for doing it at this price. Rum's riposte to cask strength Islay Scotch. Almost like no other rum you'll encounter.
I drank this "neat" and with coke. It was good and I liked it enough. Uhm it's good but that's about it for me.
This is powerful stuff! The nose is an assalut on your senses, bringing in lots of molasses and brown sugar. I like to drink it neat, but I can see that it is especially made to worj in coktails, with its strong smell and taste leaning towards molasses and being low on oak. Not a well rounded drink, but strong and kicking!
A very spicy, rough overproof rum. Great for cocktails!
Nose: fun and funky, distictive enough to shine through in a variety of cocktails
Taste: hints at complexity when neat and burn less severe than most over proof drinks , but a little water or melting ice opens up a brilliant funky molasses slightly orangey flavour with a long finish.
It's up there with my favourite Mezcals and Island Malts and whisk(e)y drinking friends all seem to love it in cocktails.
Smith and Cross Navy Strength rum review and cocktail suggestions by A Mountain of Crushed Ice