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Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum
About Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum is produced by Smith & Cross – a London-based rum producer with roots dating back to 1788. A blend of pot still “Plummer” and “Wedderburn” style rums, Smith & Cross boasts a flavorful product reminiscent of 19th century Jamaican rums.
The different rums used in this blend are each distilled in Jamaica at the Hampden Estate Distillery, before being aged for a range of 6 months to 3 years. They make a point to advertise that this blend is not chill filtered, which results in a high ester product with potentially more character. It also does not include any added sugar before bottling.
❖ ABV: 57%
❖ Distillery: Hampden Estate
❖ Aging: 6 months – 3 years
❖ Price Point: lower moderate price
❖ caramelized banana
My Tasting notes
As I took my first few whiffs of this Jamaica rum, I immediately loved the smell. It was sweet and breezy, although I couldn’t pick out any individual notes. After a few more sniffs, the aroma became vaugely banana-like.
I took my first sip, and the strength of the overproof alcohol was very apparent. As I began to take notes, I immediately misspelled at least 3 words, and starting belly laughing with joy and embarrassment. 114 proof is no joke!
My tongue definitely felt the burn, although the sensation, oddly enough, didn’t linger until the next sip. After a few more sips, the carmelized banana notes came out – first as an aftertaste, and then as the most prominent flavor note. There was also an earthy quality that was vague but enjoyable. With each sip, the sharpness of the alcohol struck my tongue, before fading into a mellow, fluffy mouthfeel.
❖ 2 oz rum
❖ 1/2 oz lime juice
❖ 1/2 oz demerara syrup
- Add the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, and shake until chilled.
- Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass, preferably an old-fashioned glass if you have one
Inside of a cocktail, I thought this rum was very impressive. For an overproof spirit, it was surprisingly mellow, with basically no harshness.
The flavor started out quite earthy, with a nice fruitiness emerging after a few sips. The overall flavor tasted complex in a way that I had difficulty putting into words. Drinking this cocktail was a great experience.
Full disclosure though – I had this drink again a few days after my tasting, and found it to be significantly funkier than the first time. The aroma and flavor were almost rubbery. I’m not entirely sure what to attribute this to, but perhaps this is meant to happen once the bottle is opened and exposed to the air for a while. That said, I still enjoyed the funky version. I just hope it wasn’t my homemade syrup causing the new flavor!
Overall, I was more impressed than I expected to be by this bottle of Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum. When I saw that it was London-based, my expectations were a little bit negatively biased, I must admit. However, at the end of the day, I really do feel comfortable recommending this to anyone looking for a good funky and interesting rum. For the quality, it is very affordable.
Although it was a bit strong for me to sip straight again, it actually didn’t affect my mouth and tongue very much compared to several spirits I’ve tried that have a lower proof. The heat really fades within a few seconds of each sip, and so it didn’t leave my tongue begging for mercy by the end of the glass.
I definitely plan to use this rum in many more cocktails. If you’re looking for a good, interesting mixing rum, I definitely recommend picking up a bottle of Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum to try for yourself.
As always, drink responsibly.