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This has turned my world upside down. I love it but it’s like no rum I’ve had before. It’s more like something agave. Cheesey, what the hell?!
I keep going back for more but if I was tasting blind I wouldn’t even guess rhum. I’ve never had a white rum I’ve wanted to sip before.
Its appealing to my brain but not my mouth and I’ve never thought of rum as cerebral. It’s kind of delicious. I have no idea how to rate this. I could justify anywhere between 3 and 9. It’s something else completely. It’s amazing.
So it took me a long time to get around to this.
Clairins are produced pretty much exclusively in Haiti, and thus far have been released in the US by Velier. This particular Clairin is made at the small Arawak distillery from fresh pressed cane juice and distilled on a pot still with condenser made from a Gasoline can (?!) (I may have some questions about that). It is then bottled unaged at 49.3% ABV.
After Sajous this is a return to sugarcane spirit psychedelics. The nose starts with Canned Tomatoes before transforming into Pickled Okra and Distilled Vinegar. It then takes a hard right turn into Candy Land with a whiff of straight molasses before transitioning to Apple Jolly Ranchers. The nose then “rounds out with fresh sugar cane and unripe green apples. So pickled veggies, sweet hard candies, and unripe apples. Welcome to Clairin. But this trip is only beginning.
The palate here is absolutely delightful in the most absurd way. Taking a sip, the palate works backwards from the nose, because of course, why not. Taking a sip I immediately get a flash bang of slightly unripe green apples which slowly morphs into Apple Jolly Ranchers. But I digress…I mean progress. Next comes a deep rich molasses note, before the rum takes hard left into bizarro land. The next flavor is like chewing on a peppermint leaf which is then thrown into a perfectly concocted Ti Punch. And I do mean a perfect whole Ti Punch with a sprig of peppermint. But that’s not interesting enough so go chew on some freshly cured, raw uncolored leather. Has your palate cured? Good here have a shot of German Mirabelle Plum brandy from the Black Forest (I hear that is Muj’s favorite thing of all from Germany)
The finish here is longer than I anticipated and a walk down this Clairin’s memory lane. It’s a perfectly concocted Ti Punch garnished with unripe green apple. Yeah that about sums it up, give or take a Clairin LSD trip.
But no seriously, this is awesome. This is probably my favorite Clairin of all just to sip on. I mean I can just sip on this straight at room temperature, undiluted forever. If you know anything about my reviews you will realize something is off here: yeah, this one remains undiluted, and I enjoy the heck out of it right at room temperature. I am definitely buying a bottle or 2 of this. This is outright excellent in the most bizarre way. It’s weird and juicy and unripe and enjoyable as hell.
I just have one concern…I, um, hope that gasoline can condenser was new when it was installed on the still because I am really not a connoisseur of actual benzine remnants. I mean I know I am drinking poison, but I like to pick my poisons.
Short Description: The most amazing rum distilled on a still with a gasoline can condenser that I have ever had and lived to tell about.
Country of Origin: Haiti
Nose: Canned Tomatoes, Pickled Okra, Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Apple Jolly Ranchers, Fresh Sugar Cane, Unripe Green Apples
Palate: Green Apples, Apple Jolly Ranchers, Deep Molasses, Peppermint, Ti Punch, Raw Cured Leather, Mirabelle Brandy
Finish: Ti Punch, Unripe Apples,
This is a review for the 2018 harvest release of Clairin Vaval 🇭🇹 rhum; this vintage has an ABV of 56.4%. Clairin Vaval uses freshly hand-harvested blue cane, wild yeast, and the producer Fritz Vaval distills using a very unique and old column still. Arawak’s Distilleries (located near Cavaillon) has been in operation since 1947.
Wow there's a lot going on here - it's a little like you burnt tomato paste on the bottom of the pan, and you throw in a little olive brine to deglaze it. On the nose there is tomato paste, olive brine, licorice, green cardamom seed, clove, ham, pepper and ghee.
The palate is cream, olive brine, grilled plantain, honey, lemon candy and cardamom seed.
The finish is medium in length with pepper, ginger, licorice, mint and clove.
This may be my favourite of the unaged Clairins (that I've tried... looking forward to giving Casimir and Sonson a try) although it's almost tied with Sajous. My preference is partially due to me continuing to find new tasting notes and complexity over time with the Vaval. Vaval is truly a intriguing, quality spirit.
It smelt terrible... rotten fruit and death. It tastes surprisingly good... grasy, green and the comes the rotten fruit guayaba... like nothing els. Its good but it killed my Daiquiri /Ti Punch - and not in a good way... just killed it.
I absolutely love Vaval. This is a fantastic agricole rum that I will drink for years to come. Great job Haiti!
This is incredibly aggressive on the nose the minute the cork comes out. Olives, brine, rotting fruit - just a faceful. Then the palate (I'll admit to sampling this in a Ti' Punch format to soften the intensity a bit) is herbal, briny, olives again, some rubber tire in there. Rounded out with some dilution. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but a rum experience unlike any other...
Clairins are the funky, voodoo-infused cousins of agricoles but Vaval is the young and most reckless one.
Nose reveals a yeast strain reminiscent of lambic beers, restrained rubber and cottonsedge.
Palate with aniseed and citrus, esters and grass notes. Aftertaste is a bit brief after a hefty main act.
This was my first clairin, but compared to Sajous and Casimir it is a bit more clumsy. Great entry level clairin, though.
Clairin is a unique type of rum. Vaval has a fruity nose, salty citrus taste, and a woody finish (not char). Try this stuff, not really for mixing though IMO.
Straight off the bat, this massively divided my friends l. Opinions rated from dont darken my door again to holy shit, what's this! For me it's so.ething you've got to try for yourself. Sure Haiti was devastated by a hurricane but ffs, it's a big ask to spank a bottle of this stuff whithout bracing yourself. Petrol, mud, grass - it's all there and I, for one really got into it. Not a sipping rum by any stretch of the imagination but well worth the effort if only to rule it out from future golfing trips. Best enjoyed with Herbie Hancock, perhaps.
Try to get a well lit shot from the front of the rum label
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