Tasting Notes For Vieux Vaval & Casimir 4 years old Haitian Rum
Nose: Simultaneously lively and pulpy. On the first nose, aromas of honeysuckle, candied lemon, apricot, orange and mango form an especially rich and complex whole. With incredible sophistication, the aroma palette gradually becomes deliciously honeyed (heather, lime blossom), finely empyreumatic (beeswax, walnut stain) and medicinal (tiger balm, camphor). Gradually, the juice of fresh sugar cane spreads through the air.
Palate: Dense, concentrated. Continuing on perfectly from the nose, the attack wavers between cane sugar, vanilla and incense paper. On the mid-palate, flavours of blonde tobacco and spice bread come together in wonderful harmony. The rich end of the palate invites us to enjoy a superb rum baba. Finally, candied cherries are placed delicately on the flavour palette.
Overall: Long, silky. At the start of the finish, notes of bourbon vanilla, artichoke heart and rubber joyfully accentuate the empyreumatic character. Citrus fruits (orange, mandarin) then refresh the liquorice and spicy (cinnamon) end of the finish with their tangy juices. The deliciously honeyed, fruity (kaffir lime) and floral (geranium) retro-nasal olfaction is also smoothly chocolatey and roasted (coffee). The empty glass releases aromas of flowering sugar cane, cane sugar and cane juice.
A blend of equal parts Vieux Vaval and Vieux Casimir, both aged in Oloroso sherry casks, this version released for Whisky Live Paris focuses in particular on the floral, fruity and fleshy character of Vieux Vaval and the medicinal, empyreumatic and spicy character of Vieux Casimir. Venturing out beyond the boundaries of its Caribbean homeland, the flavour and aroma palette also occasionally brings an Islay malt to mind.
Clairin is considered the national spirit of Haiti, and is an eaux-de-vie produced similarly to agricole rum, generally by a single local distiller using sugarcane from their village’s and adjoining fields. Largely secreted from the world for nearly 200 years, clairin was introduced to the world by Italian distributors, Velier, after Luca Gargano and Daniele Biondi discovered these distillers on at trip to Haiti in 2012.
Velier was founded by Casimir Chaix in Genoa in 1947 as a wine and spirits importer and distributor. By the 1980s they were still a small family-company with less than ten staff. This all changed in 1986 when it was purchased by Luca Gargano, a former brand ambassador for Saint James who was at the time still in his twenties. Under his direction, they selected their first single cask whiskies in 1992, and their first rum in 1996. In the decades that followed, Velier have gone on to become one of the most collectible brands in the industry, and Gargano has positioned them as the one of the foremost authorities and bottlers of rum anywhere in the world.
Producer Arawaks & Casimir distillery in Haiti, bottled for Velier Style Aged Clairin Age 4 years in an ex-Lustau Oloroso Sherry casks Volume 70CL ABV 50.1%