Two More 2018 Clairins: Le Rocher and Casimir

Thanks to a generous rum friend, I’m now able to finish out my 2018 clairin reviews with the two remaining producers bottled by Spirit of Haiti: Le Rocher and Casimir.

Clairin Le Rocher (2018)

Bethel Romelus operates his distillery in Pignon, where he distills clairin from cane syrup. Le Rocher is made with dunder (or, vinasse), which really opens up the potential for some fun, wacky flavors. Bethel named his distillery after house built on the rock from Jesus’ parable about the wise and foolish builders. The 2018 batch was bottled at 49.8%.

Wow, this is a weird nose. I get rotten banana, smoked meat, vanilla buttercream, neglected sourdough starter, mushrooms, olives, cocoa powder, maple syrup flavored cereal, and straight up dirt.

The palate leads with fruits like ripe pear, blackberry, and both fresh and rotten banana. There are lots of briny olives and capers, but not much in the way of sour, pickled flavors. The smoked meat, vanilla buttercream, and sourdough notes return as well.

This was actually the first clairin I tried. From the beginning to the end of my bottle, I couldn’t stand it. Now having a little more rum experience, the opportunity to revisit it has been rewarding. To my surprise, I think it has become on of my favorite clairins, right up there with Sajous. Consider this my official application for Team Le Rocher. (7/10)

Clairin Casimir (2018)

Clairin Casimir is distilled from Hawaii Rouge and Hawaii Blanc cane juice by Faubert Casimir in the village of Baradères. Something interesting I learned from the Spirit of Haiti website (which you should absolutely visit) is that local citrus and lemongrass are added to the wash for pH control and pest management, respectively. This batch was bottled at 51.4%.

The nose is very green and less rotten compared to Le Rocher. I get olives, grass, slightly underripe raspberries, some mint, minerality, and soap. The soap might be floral scented, but it’s definitely more soapy than floral.

On the palate, there’s lots of olives and grass again, followed by banana peel, raw sweet potato, raspberries, sweet orange, cherry, and just a bit of that soapy quality from the nose. 

This strikes me as being one of the more tame offerings from the Spirit of Haiti series. Though it isn’t my personal favorite, it’s still a tasty dram and a great value. I would have no qualms seeing it higher up on someone else’s clairin rankings, as it really comes down to personal preference. All of them are well made, unique spirits worth celebrating. (6/10)