TOTC 2015 – Tapping Rum`s Past for Rum`s Future and Clairin Rums of Rural Haiti

PLANTATION RUMS2

There was a clear presence of rum at the Tales of the Cocktail and as a rum enthusiast and rum blogger I tried to get to them all…I almost managed….but here are two of the rum seminars and tastings, more will come:

Tapping Rum`s Past for Rum`s Future

This seminar was talking about rum’s history which spans centuries, and how its flavor and character have changed dramatically over the years. How rums used to taste long ago and whether it´s possible to reverse-engineer those styles of spirits, and improve on them for today. Talking about rum’s past —drawing inspiration from historic styles of the spirit, as well as from vintage menus, cocktail recipes, distillers’ notes and popular literature.

There was the deconstruction of the Plantation 3 stars and little did I know that the 3 Stars actually is made with four rums! I always thought it was 3….but it´s made with two white rums, one from Barbados, and one from Jamaica and then a dark Trinidad and then there`s an extra dark rum from Jamaica…

Surprise surprise!

Plantation rums collage

Then of course there was the Stiggin`s….this elusive pineapple rum that was first made last year by Plantation rums, and presented at last year´s Tales, which was meant to be an “experiment” and only making a short appearance….but causing such a global outcry in the rum and cocktail community that they decided to make more….and thank God for that!!

Now the Pineapple strikes back…coming back at this Tales in full force….and finally yours truly got hold a bottle! gonna hold on tight to that one…

Plantation Stiggins

So how did they make the Stiggin`s Pineapple rum and what does the name Stiggin´s mean?

In the 19th century England, Pineapple rum was considered a delicacy, so much that it was even immortalized by novelist Charles Dicken`s character, Reverend Stiggins. In England there was even a house built like a pineapple!

The first wild pineapples came from South America and they had a strong scent of raspberries and were smaller than the pineapples we see today and needed to be pollinated by birds. They were discovered by an indian tribe called Guarani and they made pineapple wine.

In 1654 the pineapple came to Madagascar and then it traveled all around the world. When it finally came to England around the 18-1900th century it was a big thing. The pineapple fruit was really precious and not for the common people to enjoy but was the fruit of the kIngs.

In 1778 Capt Cook brought it to Hawaii and those pineapples he brought must have come from the Kew gardens in England since that was the place they were grown in Europe.

Plantation distillate for the pineapple rum

So back to Stiggin`s – for 3 months the Plantation rum folks did eat pineapples for breakfast every morning….they wanted to find the best pineapple available today and finally they found it – the Victoria pineapple from La Rèunion island in the Indian Ocean and it`s one of the most expensive pineapples in the world.

So first the pineapples are peeled by hand – all of them!! then the rinds of the fruit are infused with Plantation 3 stars rum for one week and then they are distilled in a pot still. And separately the fruit is infused with Plantation dark rum for 3 months.

After that the two liquids are married together and left to age in casks for 3 months and the final product is then ready – Plantation Stiggin`s Fancy Pineapple Rum! anyone who have tried this rum knows how awesome it is!!!

Plantation pineapple drawings

And now we know how it was made! 🙂

This seminar was presented by Paul Clarke, Jeff Berry, Martin Cate, Alexander Gabriel and was sponsored by Plantation Rum.

Clairin Rhums of Rural Haiti

CLAIRIN SEMINAR 6

A look inside the little known and rarely understood world of rural rhum production on the island of Haiti. Beyond the large brands such as Barbancourt and Vieux Labbe, most of the rhum produced and consumed by islanders in rural Haiti follows rustic, age-old production methods in the outer regions of this unique island. Slow, natural fermentation attracts the natural yeast of each micro-region, delivering a true snapshot of local DNA — true terroir — followed by a gentle distillation and simple finishing to produce a delightful, fresh cane spirit of fine quality.

In this intimate tasting seminar, we’ll sample some of the very best examples of Clairin from Haiti, which are now gaining greater appreciation in Europe thanks to the passionate efforts of Gianluca Gargano of Velier.

This was one of the exclusive tastings and one I was really looking forward to attend….and that`s because I`m a huge fan of Velier rums, I think their Demerara. Agricole and Caroni rums are absolutely one of a kind and completely outstanding….. I find the Clairin rums to be AMAZING! plus I find rums from Haiti extremely interesting….

The seminar/tasting was every bit as interesting as I thought it would be and all the Clairin rhums tastes fantastic! There are 3 Clairin rhums by Velier and they all have very different tastes and personalities and one thing they have in common is that they are incredibly flavorful and vibrant! very brilliant and lively rums!

This exclusive tasting was moderated by Robert Burr (Miami Rumfest) and presented by Luca Gargano (Velier), Ian Rum Ambassador Burrell (World Rum Ambassador), Alexandre Vingtier (Rumporter.com) and Peter Holland (The Floating Rum Shack)

clairin seminartasting

Luca Gargano and Velier

The tasting was led by Luca Gargano who in the 70s I became the brand ambassador of St James’s rhum from Martinique. One day he arrived in Martinique….this was in the old days before mass tourism had reached the island and he fell in love with this tropical island and it`s girls… 🙂 and of course, the RUM! At an age of 18 at the time he fell in love with rhum/rum and never looked back. When he was 27 he purchased the company Velier and started to import several brands of rums.

Rum geeks knows that he was the one who found a Damoiseu rum that was set apart because it contained a small percentage of molasses rum and because of that didn`t fit into the standard since they could only bottle pure sugar cane juice to obtain their AOC.

Well, that was damn lucky thing for us that he found that put away Damoiseau rum….which was distilled in 1980 at a full proof of 60.3 % and Luca found it to be exceptional – which I can attest it really is!! that rum is absolutely amazing! – so he bought all their stock (almost) and kept it all full proof. Later he discovered that they had kept some of their stock and released their own “1980 Damoiseau” the same year…hm….

But with the 1980 Damoiseau rum the “Fullproof” rum concept was born and then he started to work with the DDL in Guyana and their chairman Yesu Persaud and now more wonderful things happened because he became the ONLY one in the world who got access to the DDL rum stock and thus he could pick and choose among the old rum barrels at the DDL….which has been a REAL blessing to the rum lovers in this world!

And not only this, Luca did also find and bought up a whole heap of old Caroni barrels in Trinidad when Caroni had sadly been closed down and he let his rums age in the tropics because he believes that tropical ageing is the best! so his story cut in short – he and his outstanding rums has become a legend in the rum world and now he was there at this seminar with his new Clairin rhums from Haiti.

Rhum agricole or clear white pot still rhum in Haiti is called clairin and to obtain the Appelation Triple A the rhum must be produced following these rules:

CLAIRIN SEMINAR 4

So the sugarcane is grown very naturally together with herbs, trees and flowers, for example banana and the sugarcane varietes has to be indigenous not hybrids and also has to be organic. And in the rhum production wild natural yeast is used and fermetation has to be at least 120 hrs.

The juice has not to be dilluted with water. The distribution is small batch pot still or pot and small column and the source of heat is direct fire and the Clairin rhums has to be bottled at strength of distillation with no dilution and bottling is done on Haiti.

There are something like 5oo producers of these white/clear pot still rhums on Haiti, producing everything from “drink-at-your-own-risk-moonshine” to good rhums and these rhums are very different and they are organic and made the old fashioned way country-style, it´s the dink of the country!

Clairin Sajous, Vaval and Casimir

CLAIRIN RUMS

These are the three Clairin rhums by Velier that we tasted and they are ALL outstanding! I love their vibrancy and full proof strength! They are completely unique of it´s kind and of rums! The first one, the Sajous is made in Sajous by Chelo and bottled by Velier and it`s bottled straight from the still at 53.5 % ABV and is still the “mildest” of the three and a wonder of balance and vibrancy. But make no mistake by the term “mildest” – this stuff is pungent, it hits you right in your nose and stomach…..

You get hit by something that I can only describe as similar to the lovely but very special “kerosene” flavor you find in the overproof JWray (although this is not a molasses rum and it does not taste like JWrat at all) then you get hit by a whole array of wonderful and strong flavors, there`s nothing weak about this rhum. It`s herbal, grassy, floral, salty and sweet, strong and spicy but also smooth like butter….and I love it!

The next one, the Vaval is a rhum I also have at home, it´s a bit more temperamental and with an even stronger flavor…..its a heady rum….packed full of flavors and it`s distilled at the Arawaks distillery in the village of Cavaillon, Haiti.

The last one will kick your ass to the moon…..

Casimir is the first of these three rums I ever tried, that was last year, also at the Tales when I tried a sample brought to the Tales and then and there I fell in love with Velier Clairin rhums. Casimir is the most “difficult” of the three I´ve heard….it`s like to try to jump up and ride on a young horse or even a bull that have never had anyone on its back before…it will kick, it will run and it will try to give you trouble….

Well, my palate loved it at first sight….so I guess i`m safe 🙂 packed full of strong vibrant and unique flavors it dances around in your mouth in a frenzy! it`s double distilled at the Douglas Casimir distillery in the village of Baraderes. It`s herbal and rich, strong and wild….

If you love rum and vibrant agricole rhum I recommend you to try these rums!

Clairin rums bottles

Then we also tried another of Lucas rhums, the Rhum Rhum Liberation 2010. This rhum is made on Marie-Galante outside of Guadeloupe in collaboration with master distiller Capovilla.

It`s made from fermented pure sugar cane juice without any water added during a 10 day long fermentation period. So it`s just fermented sugar cane juice, nothing else.

This is pure rhum! and a very fine rhum, it`s aged about 2-3 years in casks that have contained french wines. The name “Liberation 2010” refers to that the rhum has been “liberated” from the cask and put together in 2010.

It´s balanced, tropical fruity and slightly spicy. it´s not a weak rhum but it has nothing to do with how the Clairin rhums attacks your senses….this is more like a mild but firm caress on your palate. It`s a wonderful expression of Rhum!

So this tasting has been very very memorable and pleasant, interesting and challenging…..I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Rhum Rhum Liberation 2010

Rhum Rhum, Liberation 2010.

clairin vaval

This my friends are some of the worlds very finest rums!

clairin the spirit of haiti

Pictures by Laura Godel and me.

Puka Punch Challenge 2015

Puka Punch 4

This weekend it was all about the Puka Punch! and that`s a nice drink using many rums so you can play around a bit with it!

Puka Punch Challenge recipe logo collage

The Puka Punch was made by Ray Buhen of the Tiki Ti in the 1960s (in 1961 Ray opened the Tiki Ti, now owned by Ray`s son Mike and grandson Mike Jr)

For this Challenge, I made two Puka Punches, the first one (in the picture on top of this post) was made with the recipe above but using different rums, Old New Orleans white rum, Blackwell rum and floats of demerara and blackstrap.

The second one is Puka Punch double! a wicked combination of Smith and Cross, Rougaroux Fullmoon Dark, Rhum JM agricole blanc with big rich floats of Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Cuban and Cruzan Blackstrap! to round up the‪#‎PukaPunchChallenge2015‬

This rum combo turned out fantastic! and the recipe is a twist of the classic one:

PUKA PUNCH  3

Puka Punch Double

2 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz mango juice

0.75 oz passion fruit syrup

0.75 oz orange honey mix

0.25 oz falernum

1 oz Smith and Cross

1 oz Rougaroux Fullmoon Dark

2 oz Rhum JM agricole blanc

Floats of equal amounts of Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Cuban and Cruzan Blackstrap, to taste

2 dashes Angostura bitters

14 oz crushed ice

Blend in blender at high speed for no more than 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a 25 oz snifter and add more crushed ice if needed. Pour the floats and don`t be shy! Garnish with 2 speared pineapple chunks and 2 maraschino cherries, two orchids and two tropical leaves.

TIKI 2

The Floating Rumshack tiki is happy! belly full of Puka Punch…..

If you want to join the Challenges or just take a look at all the nice drinks, follow @el_nova_1 on Instagram for updates! and for the drinks, the hashtag #pukapunchchallenge2015

Rum Barrel Challenge 2015

Rum Barrel Challenge logo

It`s time to bring out the rum barrel mugs (or other fancy glasses) as the third tiki drink challenge is taking place on Instagram and this time it´s a Rum Barrel Challenge! Very shortly after it was announced by el_nova_1 on the thursday, the drink pictures started to come in….

And there`s recipes to chose from, for example in Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki App there`s four different varietes. I once said that the Rum Barrel is a cool tiki drink….because there´s something very relaxing and rewarding in having a BIG rum barrel mug filled with goodness to sip…like a giant pacifier for grownups! 🙂

In the golden tiki era most Polynesian restaurants had their own version of the Rum Barrel and this is a drink you can play a lot with, switching out rums and stuff, making new varietes and that`s what I`m gonna do now.

Jamaican Barrel `O Rum

Jamaican-Barrel-O-Rum-blog w

1 oz fresh lime
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
0.25 oz sugarcane syrup
0.25 oz Pimento dram
0.5 oz Smith & Cross
0.5 oz Rum Nation Jamaica 8 Year
1 oz Blackwell Rum
0.5 oz Coruba overproof
Dash Angostura

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain and pour into a rum barrel mug with fresh ice cubes and garnish with plenty of mint and a bright tropical flower.

Next one up is coming full with luscuous rums and lots of Aloha! based on Don the Beachcomber´s 1940s recipe but with other rums….

Donn Beach Rum Barrel Recipe 1940s

Recipe pics from Jeff Berry`s Tiki App! get it here.

Aloha Barrel

Recipe as in the pics above but with 1 oz Koloa Coconut Rum, 1 oz Koloa Dark, float Koloa spiced and Rougaroux Blackstrap (or/and Cruzan)

Aloha-Barrel-

The last one to round up this Rum Barrel Challenge is complete with fire and two excellent overproof rums….one has a lot of pineapple flavor notes and is quite fruity and very deceiving with it´s smoothness….the other one is a intense smoke bomb…a really wild rum….it tastes like a “smoky JWray” and they balance each others flavor notes perfectly.

But they will not be alone in the barrel of course, we need one more rum and for that I picked the Rhum JM agricole blanc. So here we got fruity and smoky paired with grassy and herbal finished with a dash each of BoyDrinksWorld`s awesome Serrano Cocktail Spice and Passionfruit bitters and that makes for a quite different kind of Rum Barrel cocktail.

Sort of lighter, livelier and fresher but still deceivingly strong.

Flaming Rhum Barrel 

Flaming-Rhum-Barrel

1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
0.75 oz sugarcane syrup
1 oz Rhum JM agricole blanc
1.5 oz Rivers Royal Grenadian Rum (138 proof)
0.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum
A dash (or two) each of Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice and Passionfruit bitters

Shake it all with ice cubes and pour into a barrel mug or other tiki mug, fill up with fresh ice and garnish with mint and orchids on the side. For the flames, use two spent lime shells and place a crouton on each that is drenched in either a 151 proof rum or lemon extract and set alight.

Flaming-Rhum-Barrel-collage

So head over to Instagram and take a look at all the amazing Rum Barrel drinks! Hashtag #rumbarrelchallenge2015 and don`t forget to follow el_nova_1 the creator of this event.

La Confrérie du Rhum Celebrates 2 Years!

 

la-Cuvée-anniversaire-TiArrangé-de-Céd-Ananas-Victoria-Sauternes-Finish-single-cask-en-édition-limitée-à-500-exemplaires

La Confrérie du Rhum Celebrates 2 Years on the 28th of march 2015, and for this celebration there´s a new rum made! This rum is La Cuvée Anniversaire Ananas Victoria Sauternes Finish (Single Cask, Label Rouge) in a limited edition of 500 bottles.

This infused rum has as a base white AOC rhum agricole from Martinique and has been aged for 8 months in sauternes casks before being infused with red labelled Victoria pineapples from Rèunion Island.

The red labelled Victoria pineapples are a high quality and rare product, cultivated and chosen under a very selective way. The standards of this variety of pineapples is very high in terms of cultivation and final results.

The 70cl bottle of this Cuvèe (32% abv) are labelled with a white and gold label with the logo of the group on it and this bottling  will be presented and sold exclusively at the shop Christian de Montaguère in Paris, starting at 2 (14h) o`clock sharp! What a rhum arrangè is you can read here and here you can read about Rhums de Cèd, amazing flavored/arranged rums made by Cèdric Brèment.

La Confrérie du Rhum is a Facebook group created in march 2013 and already counts more than 5000 members. Professionals and rumlovers talk and share their common passion about rum and distillates from sugarcane on it.

For the second birthday of this group, the administrators decided to bring out this “Cuvèe Anniversaire” and teamed up with Cédric Brèment, the famous French rhum arrangè producer of Les Ti`arrangès de Cèd.

I was lucky to get a little sample for pre-review and let me tell you this is some really nice stuff! the lush tropical and sunny fragrance of ripe pineapple is the first that hits me when i open the little bottle….

The taste is rich, floral and fruity, sweet and herbal, and the notes of the rhum agricole is in the front while the lush sumptuous and almost decadent pineapple is lingering in the back. It`s total sweet harmony…and it definetily makes me want to own a bottle….lucky are those who can go there and buy one!

Cèdric Brèment is a master of his art!

Cuvèe Anniversaire

The rum will be sold for 36 euros and you read about the event on the Facebook page

We have the honor to see you there to discuss and share our common passion and also you will have a little surprise, namely, a special anniversary cuvée in the presence of its producer, Cedric Brement in person!

No need to book, or pre-order, you’re all just welcome from 14h until closing of the shop.

Christian de Montaguère
20, rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, France

Saturday march 28 at 2:00pm – 7:00pm

Cheers to the second Anniversary of La Confrérie du Rhum!

La Cofrerie du rhum cuvee anniversaire

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvèe #2 – Guadeloupe 1998

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvee #2

Next up from La Confrèrie du Rhum! this is a molasses based rum from Guadeloupe! not what i expected……

Maybe you remember my first post with Cuvèe #1 which was a rum from Barbados? not too long ago….they are fast in creating these rums for the La Confrérie members! I can almost not keep pace…haven´t even got to know the first one deep enough yet!

La Confrèrie du Rhum” is a french rum forum on Facebook where everything rum/rhum/ron is discussed and was created by Benoit Bail in early 2013. The members are all rum lovers and professionals from the industry (salesmen, producers, distilleries, bottlers, barmen/women etc) from the rum world.

In this very active group everything about rum is discussed, and pictures, rum reviews, websites and ideas are shared almost round the clock and in the past 18 months the group has grown rapidly.

So on to the rum!

This rum is distilled at the Bellevue au Moule Estate and Distillery on Guadeloupe and owned and run by Mr Hervé Damoiseau.

On the label it says distilled in march 1998 and imported to Germany in sept 2013, and it was extracted from the barrel in nowv 2014 and bottled in january 2015, it`s 42% ABV or 84 proof. There`s 156 bottles being made so it´s a limited edition.

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvee #2 label

The bottle bears the typical red vax seal made by Benoit Bail like the first Cuvèe #1.

Color and nose: Deep golden amber, it´s a rich a bit darker hue than just brilliant gold. The nose is light and fruity with a hint of apricot, something i cannot define and wood.

In the mouth: the taste is a total surprise to me, it´s dry and astringent in a very pleasant way with lots of oaky wood, a little bit of tropical fruit, sugarcane, licorice and spice. It`s a very sippable, pleasant rum.

I was so surprised at it´s dryness because the nose did not reveal that at all, the nose was more like promising of a fruity semi sweet rum but nothing like that! here the oak dominates with a very dry finish! it´s definitely a good rum, well worth aquiring if you can…

With 156 bottles and first come first serve for over 5000 members…I better be alert like a cobra and hope to be online the day and time when they let go of this beast!

Thanks to Benoit Bail, Vincent Bidault de Villiers and Jerry Gitany for creating these rums for the members of La Confrèrie du Rhum!

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvee #2 sticker

Rhum Arrangè de Cèd – Point G – Rum Buried in Salt…

POINT G bottle

The Point G by Rhums de Cèd is a very special curiosity – it´s a rhum arrangè with Ananas Victoria (a special type of pineapple growing in la Rèunion island) that has been buried in a salt marsh for 2 months….

Yes you read that right, the bottles were buried in a salt marsh (marais salant) with seawater and clay in France for two entire months allowing the salt flavors to enter through the cork and thus give the rum inside a special flavor note. I especially like how there is still dried clay on the rum bottles!

I asked Cèd what the salt have done for the rum? he said the pineapple note is prolonged and salt helped approve its taste and smell with a little salty note. I have tried some of his other rhum arrangées and let me tell you he makes some quality stuff! (I earlier reviewed his Rhum Banane Cacao) he sure knows what he is doing.

“Point “G” is macerated with pineapple Victoria and was buried for 2 months in the salt marshes. It was covered with clay and then sea water. The result is quite surprising on the color and taste”

I also asked two rum cork makers and experts in London during the rumfest this past fall what their thoughts were about whether or not salt can actually enter through the cork into a bottle and affect the flavor of the rum and wooow did I get them to scratch their heads…I bet they never got such a question before… 🙂 Well, they had never heard of it before..but they did not deny it could happen.

In any case this rum does taste wonderful and I think it`s a VERY interesting experiment to say the least and btw who does this??

Gotta be a real rum geek right?

I just love it!

POINT G in the marsh

The nose of Point G is mature tropical pineapple paired with a musky earthy scent and in the mouth the pineapple flavor is of course dominant, paired with that earthy taste and then a tiny hint of something, could it be the salt? adding a bit of zing to the flavor.

The overall impression is a very tropical mellow flavor – soft, rich, full-flavored from ripeness and earth that is pleasantly agreeable.

The best way to enjoy a rhum arrangè in general is to drink it as it is with a little ice or without, but you can make cocktails with it too and since this rum is made with pineapple there´s a lot of drinks it can be used with. I would keep it simple though in order to not let these exquisite flavors get lost with too many other juices and stuff.

The Point G was an experiment and the limited amount of bottles are unfortunately long gone, but let`s hope he does this again in the future! but Cèd does indeed have some very good other rums, all excellent and made with real fresh, organic and seasonal fruit macerations – “rhum arrangè” – for sale on his web page and also in spirit shops in France.

One online (and physical in Paris shop) is Christian de Montaguère and another is La Gourmandine Rhumerie and they ship worldwide.

POINT G collage

He has rums such as Mangue-Passion, Ananas Victoria, Carambole-Passion, Banane-Cacao, Vanilla-Macadamia…(i`m drooling here 🙂 Another thing these rums can be used for is in desserts! i made baked papaya with vanilla, dark sugar and coconut milk “garnished” with the Banane-Cacao rhum…

So I keep it simple and serve this drink, and since the Point G is not available right now you may use his normal pineapple rhum arrangè which is made with the same ananas victoria and a hint of vanilla.

Mixed with fresh pomelo juice and lime plus a touch of dark sugarcane syrup and chilled with ice, the heavy earthiness is lifted up into a more fruity fresh character that would be very nice I imagine on a hot day on the beach.

Point G Rhum Punch

POINT G Rhum Punch

60 ml (2 oz) Point G or Rhum arrangè Ananas Victoria

30 ml ( 1 oz) Pomelo juice

15 ml (0.5 oz) fresh lime juice

15 ml (0.5 oz) dark sugarcane syrup (sucre de canne roux)

Don`t shake, just stir together like you would do a ti punch and add a chunky ice cube or two that doesn´t melt too fast.

Garnish with a slice of pomelo fruit.

This makes a very refreshing distinctively tropical drink to enjoy.

PONIT G in the marsh 2

Isn`t it beautiful? (picture crèdit Cèdric Brement)