We briefly move away from the traditional triple sec and Curaçao liqueurs for a look at two orange liqueurs which use rum as their base. For details on how the comparison was performed, check the notes on the showdown.
Clément Créole Shrubb
Homére Clément began producing rhum agricole, a rum which like Cachaça is made using sugar cane juice rather than sugar molasses, in 1887 and Clément is now one of the biggest distillers on Martinique. Clément Créole Shrubb is a blend of both white and aged rhum agricole, which is combined with sugar cane syrup, spices and orange peel and aged in oak casks.
The nose immediately gives away that this isn’t your typical orange liqueur. In addition to a bright orange smell you get hints of cinnamon and other spices, all backed by a creamy vanilla and rum background. There is also a moderate amount of heat which lingers along with the spicey notes. With such an interesting nose, the taste really needs to deliver and certainly doesn’t disappoint. An initial vanilla sweetness gives way to a hit of fresh orange with just a hint of bitterness and plenty of spices which linger on the tongue.
The peppery finish is almost impossibly long, with the rhum agricole base starting in the background and then really coming out and shining. An incredible liqueur, with powerful flavours and a deep complexity. One of my favourites from the comparison, I cannot wait to see how it works in a cocktail.
Santa Teresa Rhum Orange
Santa Teresa is a Venezuelan plantation founded in 1796 to grow sugar cane and coffee. In 1885 Gustavo Julio Vollmer purchased the plantation and began making rum with the estate grown sugar cane. Santa Teresa Rhum Orange is a combination of two-year old rum and macerated orange peel.
The nose is dominated by a peppery rhum agricole aroma, with just a slight orange zest background note. In the mouth the initial rhum and vanilla flavours give way to sweet orange zest and honey, which develops a definite bitter edge. The orange taste moves back to the sweeter end of the spectrum towards the finish, and in joined by some spice, rum flavours and a little alcohol heat. The finish is long, interesting and very pleasant.
Santa Teresa’s offering is more like a rum liqueur with orange notes than an orange liqueur with a rum base. It is less complex, less sweet and less orangey than the Clément Créole Shrubb, but it still has a remarkable flavour profile with the aged rum showing through nicely. Like the Clément I am interested to see what this will do in a mixed drink.
Note: In the interests of full disclosure, the liqueurs included in this comparison are a mixture of bottles I have purchased myself, and samples solicited from their UK distributors.
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