Rum Fire - 63%
The Rum Fire label tag line, "Exceptionally Smooth," feels as out of place as the aggressive fire and ice imagery being used to pitch one of the most traditionally made, complex rums on the market. That said, the way this high ester, unaged rum handles its 63% ABV did in fact inspire descriptions from me like full flavored, well integrated, underproof - all variations on the dreaded "s" descriptor. That rum fans, myself included, have found a way to embrace the packaging is another testament to the quality of what's in the bottle.
Nose: Blast of overripe tropical fruit. Brine. Black olives. Rot. Faint nuttiness. Glue.
Flavor: Tropical fruit again. Whipped cream frosting. Salinity dips in mid. Rot. Grape stems. More raw and vegetal toward the finish. Addition of fresh berries late.
Structure: Slow and linear until a big, backend swell.
Proof Integration: Pleasantly underproof on the nose. A little angular and thin mid-palate (drying and punchy), but very well integrated for an expressive, unaged spirit.
Score: 6 (Solid) At its price point, few spirits can accomplish what Rum Fire does. That it accomplishes all this unaged at such a high proof is truly remarkable. Realistically, I'm not reaching for this as a sipper when I also have aged Hampden on the shelf. However, the fact that I can have a satisfying session sipping it neat is pretty remarkable. With a sticker price of ~30 bucks, a conversation starter label, and the option to make drinks or sip it neat, it makes for an extremely versatile "on the go" bottle.
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Hampden is an "accept no substitutes" distillery for me. When you've got the itch, not much else will scratch it. So I recommend more Hampden.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour