Clairin World Championship 2017

Clairin World Championship 2017 Rum Review by the fat rum pirateClairin World Championship 2017. Importer and bottler Velier have created a bit of a stir over the past few years with a “new” type of rum (or should that be rhum?) called Clairin.

Hailing from Haiti Clairin is a spirit which has a lot in common with both Cachaca and Rhum Agricole. It is arguably even more “rustic” in its production than both those cane spirits. It is produced by almost “one man band” style micro distilleries on very small creole stills.

Due to the spirits similarity with unaged Rhum Agricole and/or Cachaca it has been readily and quickly adopted by the bar scene around the world. It is as trendy as it has ever been. To be fair the very cheap domestic bottlings probably never imagined a rum savant such as Luca Gargano would rock up to their distilleries try the resulting spirits and buy and promote them throughout Europe and beyond.

Clairin World Championship 2017 is a blend of clairin from Sajous, Vaval, Casimir and Bethel (I believe they produced the Le Rocher clairin released last year). The blend has been “watered down” to 46% ABV. The actual Clairin World Championship 2017 was a cocktail competition. Not a competition to find the best Clairin.

Presentation wise we have the tall thin bottle Velier have used for all their Clairin’s so far.

Crystal clear in the glass. The nose is both creamy and vegetal at the same time. A strong burst of alcohol heavy sweetness – vanilla and some hints of malt vinegar and some citrus.Clairin World Championship 2017 Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

I’m getting a hit of Lemon and Lime soda (7up) and some fruity pineapple and banana. If the ABV was a bit higher I might think I had a Jamaican Overproof on my hands.

Or maybe a more high-proof Agricole? The Clairins really do fit nicely between the two styles – offering both familiarity and something slightly different. Something a little more rustic perhaps.

This World Championship blend seems to have less rough edges than the Clairin’s from the individual distilleries. It’s still quite challenging but it seems just a touch more refined.

There is a nice weight of spices on the nose as well – hints of nutmeg and just a little aniseed.

Sipped it is not as flavourful as I was expecting from the nose. It’s nowhere near as sweet. The initial burst is a hit of youthful alcohol – it’s quite hard to describe. I might sound a little “Serge” here but it tastes a litle stoney. It’s very mineral heavy. Yes that’s it! Minerals. Not quite like drinking mineral water because of the alcohol but it definitely has some of the notes you get with a bottle of mineral or spring water.

The mid palate is quite spicy with a fair amount of peppery heat – I would say more of a Mexican Fajita style “hotness” rather than Indian Vindaloo style “pepper” heat – sweet chilli perhaps.

It’s not all that grassy or vegetal and has a slight smokiness on the palate. It has a reasonable amount of complexity as it moves into the mid palate with some of the citrus returning as well adding an extra layer. I’m getting notes of raspberries and some light peach. It’s surprisingly dry.Clairin World Championship 2017 Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

Finish wise it is surprsingly long and got hot. It’s actually the spicy-est part of the experience. It really seems to heat up in the mouth.

It’s a very clean tasting spirit – mixed it performs really well in things like a Ti Punch. It actually makes for quite a dry experience when mixed nowhere near as grassy and vegetal as I might have expected. It even works with coke giving a kind of Cuban style Cuba Libre which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Pretty decent all round I must say.

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