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I get so many different smelling and tasting notes and don’t know how to compare it. Great flavor with a good burn. At cask strength 50% that was expected. I’ve had well aged rums above what I paid for this that were smooth yet bland. I enjoy the complexity of this rum.
First of all, this is my first aged Clairin. I have had Clairin Vaval, Sajous, Casimer, and several others from Haiti, but they have all been the straight, unaged distillate. Also, you should know, my bias is that I do love funky, fruity, grassy, overripe flavors. I love Rhum Agricoles, and Jamaican pot still rums. So when I discovered Clairin, it was right up my alley. I was actually afraid to try a barrel aged version of it, simply because I did not want to tone down the wild and amazing flavors in the raw juice. Pleasantly, and to my surprise, this did not… not even a little. In fact, it may have enhanced it!
The rich caramel color might calm your nerves into believing that this is some docile, domesticated rum from Latin America, but the moment you pull the glass close and waft in the intense aroma, you’ll want to exclaim along with Dorothy, “I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore!” Immediately my nose is invaded (in a way that shouts “take me!”) with high esters, an orgy of underripe and overripe bananas, paint thinner, dry-aged steak, tomato jam, and fresh clippings from the lawn. But the nose is just the first step on this adventure…
Next, I sip this viscous & visceral concoction that tastes like Heaven & Hell got together and had a baby! Immediately there is the caramel, but followed on the heels with an entire fruit salad, that disappears almost before you realized it was there! Where did it go? Like a surfer on a wave much too large for his skill, those fruity esters were completely wiped out under a wash of vegetal & alcoholic perfume. Then a foam of salty, citrusy pineapple leaves you catching your breath in its wake. It’s like drinking the best rum of your life while getting your nails done in a salon. But like any amateur surfer would admit, when walking up to the beach after a major wipeout… it was so worth it! It’s simply impossible to compare that first sip to anything else! It’s as if a high ester rum from Hampden, like their Estate Overproof, had a baby with a fine Agricole like Neisson’s Blanc Espirit… then you let that concoction come to maturity in a cask for 36 months. It would mellow the flavor, and yet there is only so much taming you can do for the wild animal spirit of such an incredible creation! And while certain notes were “mellowed” others were accentuated.
Bottom line: EVERYONE Should try this. But if you like funky rums, agricoles, and wild experiences in general, this is down your alley!
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