Clairin Sonson & Providence

Today we are having a new (unaged) Clairins on the agenda with Sonson. Its adversary is going to be the first Providence bottling, which is a bit older but one we have yet to present on here.

Clairin Sonson 2018 (53,2%): Sonson is produced by Stephan Kalil Saoud in Cabaret, north of Port Au Prince in the district of Arcahaie. It is made from a particular variety of non-hybridized sugar cane called Madame Meuze, which supposedly gives the distillate vegetal and slightly mineral notes. Distillation takes place over open fire in a small pot still. Let’s see. Nose: Super aromatic with the mentioned vegetal, slightly earthy and deeper in the glass also the mineral notes. The vegetal notes can best be described as foul and almost rotting vegetables such as potatoes, plantains, different sorts of leek and green leaves. All of that is very crisp, clean and pretty much unlike anything we’ve had before. I think it is safe to say that the Spirit of Haiti range really got enriched by yet another totally unique product. Palate: A slight drop from the amazing nose, as the palate is not only a bit less intense, but also quite bitter, perhaps even adstringent. Again, I have to think of old potatoes and leeks, paired with fresh soil and citrus fruits where the juice has already been squeezed out. Nah, this is actually still very good, just not necessarily what you’d expect after nosing. Finish: Medium long in terms of flavours (extension of the palate), seemingly infinite in terms of exceeding dryness (the adstringency). I think everything has been said. It is definitely one everyone should have tasted, even though not everyone is going to like it I believe. (82/100)

Providence Blanc 2019 “First Drops” (57%): These are the “First Drops” from the partnership between Velier and Barbancourt. If I recall correctly, the idea was to use the ancient production techniques from Barbancourt and the ultimate goal is to release Providence Rum that has been aged in former Providence barrels. They make use of the Cristalline cane variety, i.e. the same variety used by our beloved Sajous. I’ve found the following: “Fermentations are made separately with fresh juice and syrup which ferments for 10 to 12 days in stainless steel vats using selected yeast. Then they are distilled separately in a bain-marie batch still. The resulting spirits are combined at a ratio of 85-90% syrup distillate and 10-15% fresh juice distillate, and distilled a second time. The final distillate leaves the still at 72% ABV and is reduced to 57% ABV for bottling”. If weren’t curious already, we’d be now! Nose: Very fresh, clean, fruity and sweet. I get peaches, apricots, elderflower and orange blossom, somewhat perfumed and more floral notes. This is almost too lovely for my liking and in direct contrast to the decidedly more dirty Sonson. Palate: Still sweet and fruity but not as charming and mellow as the nose. Instead, the fruits are a bit more aggressive and remind you that we are still dealing with 57% abv Rum here. The floral notes turn to darker, yet still aromatic flavours such as lavender, sage or violets and the fruits rather remind me of a mix of cherries and black currants. Still cool and certainly an interesting turn of events. Finish: A bit on the short side but very aromatic nevertheless, with orange blossom, fresh citrus fruits and coconut oil. Another really good one. I am already looking forward to the aged expressions! (83/100)