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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.
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...
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?
I was very surprised to find that this is a Hampden rum (I had heard others mention that it came from Worthy Park). It is outstanding, to put it bluntly.
When you're looking to mix and create the incredible tiki drinks of old, you need something with real personality - something intense and loaded with flavor (and without all the additives and sweeteners!). You need authentic Jamaican rum.
It is 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.
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’m currently going through a bottle of this a week at my home bar, serving myself and 2-3 others regularly. I truly feel that there is no better expression of traditional Jamaican (aged) rum for the price. Although I have heard that it is stupidly expensive in other parts of the world ($28 USD for me).
Drinks that this rum is perfect for:
Jamaican Rum Punch
It took me about ten years to find the perfect rum. This is it! A lovely nose. Everything should smell like Smith & Cross. Why not even spice up your boring cereals with this godly aroma! Or replace your Paris cologne with this irresistible aroma! Instant success.
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.]
"Smith and Cross Navy Strength rum review and cocktail suggestions by A Mountain of Crushed Ice"
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