Velier Clairin - World Championship 2017 - 46% abv.
Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Velier Clairin World Championship 2017 -Sajous, Casimir, Vaval, Romelus (Le Rocher) Blend - 46% abv.
I realized that I have posted reviews of all of the individual Clairins but had yet to write my impressions on the World Championship 2017 edition. Firstly a little background for those of you who are unfamiliar with this r(h)um; Clairin is r(h)um produced in Haiti from fresh pressed sugar cane, so in essence, Haitian agricole. In an effort to increase the use of Clairin in cocktails, The Spirit of Haiti/Velier hosts an international competition where bartenders compete to make the best cocktails using only Velier Clairin r(h)um from the standard line - Sajous, Casimir or Vaval (actually not sure about Le Rocher - this may be included in next years competition). The finalists are then taken to Haiti to experience where these r(h)ums are made and to compete for that years winning cocktail. In conjunction with this competition, a new cocktail/bartender’s choice blend is created using a blend of that year’s individual Clairins. The 2016 consisting of Sajous, Casimir and Vaval, and the 2017 adding Le Rocher (Romelus) into the mix! These r(h)ums are funky, grassy, oily fresh-press-cane animals! - tasting notes on all of these are available in previous posts…
That’s enough of that, time to dig into the r(h)um!
The nose is explosive! No question that this is coming from fresh pressed sugar cane! Rotting banana peels mixed with freshly cut hay bales left out to dry. Specifically citrus peel oils (not the juice) are clearly present and remind me that Sajous is definitely in the mix. There is also a charcoal-like smokiness, but mild, as if the fire had died out throughout the night and there are just a few coals left burning. This must be from the Romelus. Floral aspects are also coming through; mixture of violets and roses. Also a quite distinct green brininess…this with the floral notes reminds me of smelling a freshly shaken dirty gin martini, only oh so much better! A sour yet creamy scent also comes through, which, as I have stated for some of the other Clairins, is best described as cottage cheese. There is a certain sweet aspect to the smell (and yes I’m aware that “sweet” is not a smell, but I’m going with it), which together with the smouldering coals gives me hints of maple glazed bacon…This nose has A LOT going on, and at 46% you can really dig deep in this one without any boozy burn.
On the palate…I don’t know where to start first. I would probably go with smoke. Green, smokey, salty mezcal-like. White and pink pepper corns. Un-roasted bitter almonds and hazelnuts. There is also a green freshness that reminds me of cucumber peel. Citrus peel is also clearly present, but more toward lemon than lime. There is a certain petroleum/bike-tire/rubber thing going on that I am loving (although surprised that I didn’t pick up on this on the nose). Creamy papaya juice with a hint of mint. Also a spicy grape-distillate-like finish, almost like a very fruity grappa that has been resting with a few cloves. As with the nose, at 46%, this r(h)um is not overly hot, which works amazingly well for being able to appreciate all of the individual flavours without the alcohol getting in the way. That being said, there is definitely a pleasant warmth that goes along with it. It works. Like a gentle r(h)ummy hug.
Mouth feel is creamy and oily. It really coats everything it touches…and it lingers! The finish is long! Grappa turns to smokey vanilla and leaves you gently with the nutty and dry feeling of chewing on a green olive pit.
I love how you really do get the character of each of the individual Clairins in this wonderful blend!
In one word: Yummy.
Can’t wait for next year’s release!