As you may have noticed, if you read my Orange Liqueur Throwdown post, I like oranges. Actually I just seem to like the taste of oranges complimenting other foods and drinks. I almost never buy oranges and eat them plain, but if someone adds orange to a cocktail, a spirit, chocolate, coffee… Yum.
Being in an orange mood, and not having any Pyrat XO handy (it’s at camp), I decided to try the Clément Créole Shrubb. The bottle says that it’s “A subtle blend of rum, sugar, cane syrup and orange peel, all brewed through a slow maceration process in oak casks.” I certainly liked the Clément VSOP (though I’ve yet to review it) and also liked the other rums I have from Martinique: Kaniche and two types of St. James. Let’s hope that I’m 5-for-5 for Martinique rums.
The initial smell is of bitter oranges, but sweeter than Senior Curaçao or Cointreau. I barely get any hints of rum in this initial smell. And the stuff is thick – pouring it caused a slow “glugging” and swirling in the glass moves slowly. Interesting.
The initial taste is thick, too, and sweet as all heck. (Not that I mind that at all.) Wow, this is not what I had expected. I guess that I had expected something closer to Pyrat XO but this is more of an orange liqueur. Well throw me down – the bottle does say “Liqueur Créole Clément” but it also says “rum” too. Sue me for expecting a rum. I guess I’ll have to go into liqueur mode…
A Liqueur, Not Quite A Rum
Yep, this is an extremely sweet orange liqueur, made with rum but not what I would call a rum. It is very good – high quality orange tastes, mild burn, crisp, medium-length finish. It will be, for many, exceedingly sweet – all that cane syrup, which you can feel coating your lips and mouth. But it is very high quality. I’d be very curious to try this in a Mai Tai in place of orange curaçao – why not have a 3rd rum in there?
Holy cow, this stuff is 80 proof. You’d never know it by the taste or burn, that’s for sure.
Past The Initial Shock
OK, I’m past the initial shock I guess, now that I know I’m not reviewing a rum. I keep sipping, and I like it. The flavor is high quality orange, on par with Senior Curaçao but not quite Cointreau. It’s got a burn between the two, also, though far milder and closer to Senior – Cointreau’s burn makes that unsippable in my opinion. For sipping, since I like rum, I’d probably lean more towards the Clément Shrubb than the Senior Curaçao. I’d be very tempted to try the Clément Shrubb in a cocktail, though it would have to be the right one since it’s much sweeter than Cointreau and doesn’t quite have the very strong orange taste of Cointreau.
On its own – probably with some ice – this would be a very nice, very sippable liqueur.
But it’s not a rum, IMHO.
Clément Créole Shrubb is a very high quality, extremely sweet, orange liqueur made with rum. It’s quite smooth and very sippable and can stand on it’s own, and I’m very willing to try it in some cocktails. But it’s not a rum, so pass it by if you’re a rum purist. But if you like orange liqueurs – and I do – this is highly recommended. Alas, it’s bit expensive – I paid $27, two-thirds of what a bottle of Cointreau costs, and a dollar more than I paid for Senior Curaçao. I’d have a hard time giving up either of those for a bottle of the Clément Créole Shrubb – so the final decision is up to you.