Clairin Sonson 2018

Clairin Sonson 2018 rum revew by the fat rum pirate Clairin Sonson 2018. This is the fifth single estate Clairin to be released under Velier’s “Spirit of Haiti” offshoot. I have reviewed a couple (but not all) of these Clairin’s previously and links should appear at the bottom of this review.

Clairin, much like Cachaca is essentially rum produced from sugar cane juice rather than molasses. It is similar to “Rhum Agricole” but it is more common to find a pot still rather than a traditional Coffey Column still used in the production of Clairin.

Also the name “Clairin” which is French for clear, indicates that traditionally the spirit white/clear. Velier have released some aged Clairin (but that is not common within Haiti).

Clairin Sonson as with the other Clairins in the range is named after the distillery – Sonson. Which is a very small one pot still distillery in the village of Cabaret. Here Clairin is produced using a traditional open fired Pot Still. An indigenous non-hybridised variety of sugar cane is used called “Madame Meuze”. (This variety of sugar cane is also present in the Saint Benevolence Clairin). Unlike some of the other distilleries the distillery is not named after the distiller. The Master (and only) Distiller at Sonson is Stephan Kalil Saoud.

Presentation wise Clairin Sonson comes in the now distinctive tall thin, clear bottles used for all the other Spirit of Haiti releases. Artwork is provided once again by local Haitian artists.

In the UK a 70cl bottle of Clairin Sonson 2018 will set you back around £50. It is currently in stock at The Whisky Exchange. It has been bottled at cask (or rather still strength) of 53.2% ABV.

Much like Agricole Rhum and Cachaca, Clairin is a spirit which I have acquired a taste for over time. It was not an instant hit with me but in time I have learned to enjoy it more and more. It is funny how tastes change over time.

I can’t really think of much else to say about this particular release – I think we’ve covered all the interesting stuff. So lets get down to some nosing and tasting

Clairin Sonson 2018 rum revew by the fat rum pirate

I’m not going to say what colour the contents of my glass are as that should be pretty obvious!

The nose is fresh and very vegetal. Freshly mowed grass, hay, olives, some briny salty notes and a hint of sour milk.

Further nosing reveals a spicier peppery side – chilli a touch of cumin and some black pepper. The sour milk note evolves with time in the glass into more of a creamy note which is really pleasant and works nicely with the sweet sugar cane notes.

It’s a very complex spirit and also has some mineral like notes. Which add a further layer of complexity to the nose.

It’s really nice and despite all that is going on it has a really nice balance and is quite “soft” and easy going.

Sipped, Clairin Sonson 2018 it is a bit more fiery than the nose suggests. It’s nothing that will knock any ones socks off who is used to cask or overproof spirits but it’s still got a good kick of peppery spice and chilli heat on the initial sip.

Further sips reveal a much sweeter profile bursting with fresh sugar cane and a slightly flowery profile.

The mid palate has a slightly smoky and mineral like note to it. This is a very complex and enjoyable unaged white spirit. It is bursting with flavour – sweet vegetal notes and tropical fruits, a touch of passion fruit.

In terms of the finish it is surprisingly short with a lot of the flavours on the entry and mid palate quickly fading leaving a sweet burn of alcohol and to be fair, not a great deal else.Clairin Sonson 2018 rum revew by the fat rum pirate

That said this is an unaged spirit so to expect a wonderfully long finish is perhaps a little fanciful.

Clairin Sonson is equally at home in drinks that call for unaged agricole or Cachaca – it works great in a Ti Punch and it doesn’t make a bad Daiquiri either.

In terms of flavour this is my favourite Clairin thus far and aside from the finish it’s really quite excellent when you consider the rustic nature of how it is produced.

Well worth seeking out.



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