• 96

Clairin Sajous (700ml)

$99. 99 Bottle
$1199.88 Dozen
ABV: 54.3%
Rum chasers on the hunt for hard-to-find libations will be excited to get their hands on Haitian “Clairin” (artisanal rhum). Like village Mezcal, these heirloom spirits have been produced by farmers, catering for their local communities before other markets. Almost unknown outside of Haiti where they're generally dismissed by the upper class as a peasant's drink, Clairins deliver the distinctive aromas and flavours of Agricole rum or Brazillian Cachaca – and more.

Small craft distilleries known as 'guildives' are scattered throughout the country, often in the middle of the sugar cane fields. Villages like Cavaillon, Saint Michel De L'Attalaye and Barraderes each have their own version of Clairin emphasising their own 'terroir'. “The person with the most money in the neighborhood [often owns] the guildive, producing clairin with a donkey pressing the cane juice” explains Garcelle Menos, account manager for Boukman Clairin. “Most of the time, they’re a combination of column and pot stills, very small columns and very small pots.”

Un-hybridised sugar cane varieties with names like “Cristalline”, “Hawaii” and “Madam Meuze” are grown for their amazing intensity of flavour, despite being low yielding and so ignored by large scale rum producers. Spontaneous fermentations are long, creating complex spirits, with every batch different from the last. Clairins are unaged, and unlike most rums which have no regulations regarding ‘flavour enhancements’, they have absolutely nothing added.

Clairin Sajous is from the village of Saint Michel De L'Attalaye. Third generation of the family Sajous, Michel Sajous built the small distillery in 2004, located in the middle of a 30 hectare plantation growing different varieties of sugar cane among which is the rediscovered Cristalline. The cane was harvested in 2016 and distilled at the Chelo distillery under the direction of Michel.

Tasting note: [2016 release] Crystal clear. Diverse yet surprisingly agreeable aromas are moderately caney, raw sugar-like then briney with yeasty scents evoking sour dough and fruit bread. Further air contact turns this grassy-sweet, finally leaning towards toasted marshmallow and beeswax. Amply spicy attack is oily, juicy, semi-sweet with a thrust of warming spirit and flavours of marzipan, dried herbs and white pepper. Ends salty, delectable, super long. Easily the most complex and remarkable white rum we've tasted to date. Outstanding. 54.3% Alc./Vol.