|Woo-hoo! Another head-banger from Gawith and Hogwarts!
Having enjoyed Dark Flake I decided that I had to try the plug, but when I saw that this rum infused version was available I couldn't resist giving it a go.
The first point to make is that if (like me) you expect a 'rum' topping similar to Rum Flake from the same stable, then you are going to be surprised! The aroma coming from the pouch is strong enough that I can smell it across the room.
This isn't like any rum I ever tasted. I can believe that rum is part of the flavour and the overall impression is definitely one of strong booze, but to me the smell is reminiscent of those chocolates with the goopy, fruit liquer filling that are always left over at the end of the box. That isn't entirely fair, as the aroma of Dark Plug Rum is more like a pleasant version of that smell, but there is definitely a resemblance.
On to the smoking. If you have smoked Dark Flake you know what to expect: good quality tobacco, lots of fire-cured flavour and a skin-full of vitamin N. It could just be me, but I don't think that this plug is quite as strong as its flake cut cousin, although there is no logical reason why that should be as the tobaccos are supposed to be identical. Possibly it is a result of the variations in cut and preparation, or perhaps storage and age, but if I had to point the finger I would go with that unusual casing.
That is the thing about this blend. The powerful, rum/liquer/wtf casing is equally assertive under the application of fire, and I am simply not certain that it actually works with the strong, fire-cured profile of the base tobaccos. It is like having a scoop of strawberry ice-cream on your roast beef.
Perhaps my opinion will change, but at the moment I can only get into this blend once I have rubbed out some slices and given them a chance to air for an hour or so. Although it is perfectly possible to smoke this blend quite damp due to the bite-free nature of fire-cured leaf, the drying time reduces the presence of the casing to a manageable level.
I am certainly not going to let it put me off trying the unscented and uncased version Dark Plug, but because of my reservations about the casing Dark Plug Rum gets 3 stars rather than the 4 I really hoped that I would be able to give it! Recommended.
EDIT: I have started to come around to the way that the rum flavour works with the tobacco, to the degree that I have found myself with the odd craving for what was originally a slightly strange combo. It still doesn't earn that extra star, but I can see myself buying this again sometime.