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Now this is some good stuff
Nose: Bubblegum, Pineapple, Woodsmoke, Industrial Glue, Honeybaked Ham, Worchestershire Steak Sauce, Pinewood,
Palate: Woah! Intense! Mezcal, Powdered Sugar, Beet Juice, Wood Smoke, Peat, Pinewood, Lime Juice,
Aftertaste: Short, Lemon, Pinewood, Baked Ham, Woodsmoke lingers long after, burns the nostrils
This is a definite acquired taste. This is only for the most advanced rum drinkers who have gone through the full range of styles. So unless you have tried a broad range of rums including Agricoles and ultra funky Jamaicans, you aren't going to be prepared for this. Maybe I should put it this way: if you blindfolded someone and asked them to drink it and tell you what they were drinking they would likely tell you it was Mezcal. But this is pure, unadulterated, pot stilled sugar cane juice from the heart of rum history: Haiti
The nose is incredibly pungent and unbelievably complex. Its as powerful on the nose as Smith & Cross - which is saying something if you have ever had that rum. But the palate is absolutely wild. Its like nothing I have ever had. Its like if Argicole Blanc, Mezcal, and Jamaican Pot Still rum had a sultry threesome and the sweat was combined and distilled.
The aroma of this rum jumps out of the bottle at you, overwhelming your olfactory senses with a bizarre range of smells like some circus of olfactory memories from random parts of life - no, really. In a glencairn taking waft I get Bubblegum, Pineapple, Woodsmoke, Modelers Glue, Honeybaked Ham, Worcestershire Steak Sauce, and fresh white pinewood. I can confidently say I have never smelled that on any distillate before.
Just as I was thinking that was the wildest combination of smells I ever took in from a consumable source, I took a sip...and my tastebuds went on what can only be described as a hallucinatory trip. Immediately my mouth exploded with a bizarre menagerie of unrelated flavors like some montage of savory flavors. My immediate reaction was confusion and bewilderment as I was punched in the face by blast of flavors starting with a burst of Mezcal followed by a bang and immediate fade of powdered sugar, immediately followed by beet juice. My mouth then became permeated with woodsmoke, peat, and lime juice followed by a lingering distinct pinewood and woodsmoke flavor. Those flavors faded into and aftertaste of Lemon juice, pinewood, woodsmoke and baked ham. At first I noted that the finish was short, but then I realized after drinking it a bit that the aftertaste slowly built up into strong notes of lemonade, mezcal, ham, and woodsmoke.
I can definitively say I have never EVER had anything like this. Not even remotely. So why do I give it an 7 and not a 10? Because despite the insane and intense complexity of the most interesting assortment of flavors ever collected in a distilled spirit, I cannot say that I definitively loved it. It was wild and crazy and not what I would choose to sip comfortably. I didn't dislike it either and I can tell that this is truly a unique rum and experience. Given the whole experience I cannot in good conscience rate it below an 7 on this scale even if the particular menagerie of flavors isn't really something I would sit around and sip. I can definitely appreciate the craft and artistry of this rum even if the profile is too wild for what i might consider relaxation. The best way I can explain it is that it is a wild crazy ride that I might enjoy when I want a thrill, but not something I would turn to to relax and forget the day. This is more something I will keep for people who think they have had everything rum has had to offer, because if you haven't had this, then I assure you that you haven't.
Country of Origin: Haiti
Distillery: Le Roche (small independent distiller)
Amazing haitian rum, with complex and delicate flavours. The peculiar smoked aftertaste reminds me of the peat found in the Islay whiskeys, but more delicate and balanced.
Overall a great choice for jamaican and agricole lovers.
Comes from Pignon village in Haiti, distilled in a small farm distillery.
46,5%abv pot still proof
Distilled from cane juice suryp with "dunder" pits being used
Strong rubber, smoke, brine, balsamic vinegar, green apples and also some mineral quality, hint of corn
Palate: Lot going on here, brine and smoke, less vinegar but good amounts, some grass, apples and minerals, bit heat but not as much as i expected,
lots of nice citric flavour and acidity, surprisingly crisp.
Finish is quite long, citrus brine and smoke and in the end you get nice pepperiness like white pepper.
Well crafted rum, is a bit like a hybrid between jamaican white overproofs like rum fire and a fruity agricoles.
A few weeks ago, I saw three clairin rhums in gift boxes on the shelf of a favorite liquor store. After researching them, this was the only one with reviews on here, so I bought it for only $39 US.
As others have said, the aroma is of floral briny olives, but very pleasant. The taste is so complex that it is difficult to nail it down to just a few notes. The finish is quite pleasant with very little burn. It cannot quite compete with my only two rums rated as a 10, so it gets a high 9. However, good luck finding this one. This is both a great sipper and a mixer. No easy feat, especially for a white rum.
I would like to add that this one qualifies as being Delightfully Weird and Totally Unique. This one is NOT for beginners!!!! If the Captain Morgan crowd tried this one as their first foray into fine rums, they would go back to mass produced column distilled rums and never try fine rums again. One needs to try other fine rums for at least one year before trying this one. It is THAT different!
And for those that love Laphroaig single malt Islay scotch, you will probably also love this rum. Both are heavily peated.
Update March 1, 2021: I finally found another bottle of this clairin today along with three others from Velier. The cork disintegrated so bad that a corkscrew could not even get the rest of it out. I had to dig the rest out with a knife and then pour the remainder into a beaker to try and get most of the remains out. Then I used a heavy duty paper towel doubled over to removed any super fine particles before pouring this liquid back into the original bottle. Good thing that I save old corks and one of them made a really good replacement. I almost was going to dock my rating from a 9 to an 8 or less. However, it is still the best clairin of all four and tastes just fantastic. The other three all got my rating of 5-7. The cork on the Vaval also broke, but a corkscrew was able to remove the rest.
Best as a sipper, but works fine on a ti punch. I got a pleasant and ever present strawberry yoghurt character both on the nose and on the palate with some vegetable notes and a light mezcal-like smoke .
A smoky almost chipotle flavor. For a white, the after burn is not what I would have expected. Much less. The mix is not quite as good straight. For what it's worth, I have it as a 5.5.
In a single sitting, I tried three Clairin brought to us by Velier. Like the others (Clairin Sajous and Clairin Vaval) it's a mix of Jamaican and Martinique/agricole styles. Clairin might not be to everyone's taste, but I'd urge every rum nerd to at least try a glass if they have the opportunity. (The reasonable price point should help.)
Of the three, I found this the most delightful. The cane sweetness was most intense, there was a hint of saline and mineral, but little of the grassiness that usually turns me off agricoles. It's estery, but bright, less banana/plantain than strawberry or maybe passionfruit.
Oh, and while you can call all these clairin "the mezcal of rhum" because of the little-regulated primitive rural production methods, this one also earns the title because of a smoky punch that hits you on the first whiff (and sip). Not sure what that's from, but it slowly fades into the background over time to let the more subtle flavors come through. Drinking this straight at full strength, I felt less burn than expected, so I didn't bother trying to add anything.
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