In the last few weeks I have launched several articles about various bottles of rum. Those included the white Plantation “Three Stars”, two Rums from the Plantation Vintage Edition, the groundbreaking Revolte Rum from the German city of Worms and the powerful Plantation O.F.T.D. Overproof Rum. A little longer ago there was also an article about a Rhum Agricole from the house of Clément and it is exactly this article I want to refer to today. By introducing two more bottles from this house. (provided test products)
These bottles are the Clément Canne Bleue and the Clément Select Barrel. The two bottles represent a matured and an unmatured quality of Rhum Agricoles from Martinique. But these are only the most obvious differences. Before I take a closer look at the bottles, let us briefly recapitulate what Rhum Agricole essentially is: the main difference to molasses rum is not only the letter H in the name, but above all that Rhum Agricole is made of pure sugar cane juice which is fermented to a mash and then distilled. It is true that not all Rhum Agricoles of all countries fall under a protected designation of origin, but in the case of Clément, which originate from the French overseas department of Martinique, the “Appelation Martinique Contrôlée” applies (which works like the French AOC). The addition of sugar or other aromas is therefore excluded here, which is of course a good thing to know.
Clément manufactures Rhum in a tradition dating back to 1887. The distillery Habitation Clément was founded by the physician Homère Clément. It is located south of the commune of Le François in the Arrondissement Le Marin. You can visit parts of the distillery, but the actual production process is excluded from that.
If you are looking for further information about rhum agricole or Clément, I can recommend you to also have a look on my article on the Clément Rhum Vieux Agricole VSOP.
But for now it is time to take a closer look at the bottles:
The Clément Canne Bleue can easily be recognized as an unmatured rhum agricole by its color (well, unmatured is not entirely correct, according to many other reviews it was allowed to mature for about 6 months in steel tanks – but since I did not find that information at the manufacturer’s or distributor’s website I will only provide this detail under reserve). If you’re asking yourself now, why this rhum is called “Bleue” (blue) although the liquid is obviously transparent, I can assure you that your senses are working completely fine. The true reason for the name is the special type of sugar cane used for this rhum: While rhum agricoles are often distilled from different cane species (or different single-cane rhums blended with each other), this one is based on only one type of cane, the so called “Canne Bleue” sugar cane. With 50% ABV it comes with a solid drinking strength. It is available in specialized stores for about 25 to 30 euros.
Aroma: I can scent full-bodied and intense sugar cane: greenish, woody and sweetish, hints of lime peels, apples and pears are also there (it almost reminds me of younger calvados, as funny as that may sound). In the background some very fine vanilla and some fruit stones.
Taste: The sugar cane is also the first impression on the palate. Then again there is lime and also a hint of fruit tending towards bright grapes. A little bit of burned cane sugar can be noticed. An absolutely great impression that fits the aroma. I am very pleased!
Finish: lime peel and green wood notes
I immediately felt the excitement to use it in a Ti’ Punch. But since I have already written about the Ti’ Punch, I decided to create a special twist. Ti’ Punch purists (yes, they do exist) may forgive me that rhubarb found the way into my drink but the result is simply delicious and fits the season. Oh, and one thing: I really like my Ti’ Punch with brown cane sugar (and indeed despite a few unresolved sugar bits.) I would never add brown sugar to my Caipirinha but absolutely want brown sugar in my Ti’ Punch. Anyway: “Chacun prepare sa proper mort!”
Recipe “Rhubarb-Ti ‘Punch”:
6 cl Clément Canne Bleue
3 quarter pieces of lime
Approx. 5 pieces of rhubarb
2.5 bar spoons of brown cane sugar
Preparation: Put lime, rhubarb and sugar into a glass and gently muddle with your muddler to squeeze out the juices (without completely squishing it) so that juices and sugar are combined. Add Rhum Agricole, stir and serve with ice in a separate glass.
The Clément Select Barrel is also easily recognizable by its color as a barrel aged rhum compared to the Canne Bleue. Although the term only appears indirectly on the bottle (only as part of a Ti’ Punch recipe to be exact) we are dealing with a Rhum of the French category “Vieux”, which means that it had to mature for at least 3 years in the barrel. In addition to that, this rhum is not a single cane rhum like the Canne Bleue but a blend of different rhums which were handpicked by Clément’s cellar master before it was bottled. The Clément Select Barrel comes with 40% vol. so it is a little weaker in direct comparison which is certainly intended to emphasize the maturation mildness of a barrel aged rhum. The bottle also costs approx. 25 to 30 Euros.
Flavor: cane sugar, caramel and butterscotch with a fine vanilla. I am not sure if I would have recognized this as a Rhum Agricole in a blind tasting. It is somewhere between caramel whiskey, matured rum and cognac. Spicy tones emerge over time (Muscat), a touch of citrus fruit and some ripe pear.
Taste: On the palate there is intense caramel, sugar cane, vanilla and oak notes with spicy hints. It also reminds me of cognac or some bourbons. In time, the slightly „greener” notes of the Canne Bleue also appear. This one is an absolutely great Rhum!
Finish: dry, spicy with lots of oak and green wood
Here, too, I wanted to stay classic today and simply just followed the recipe on the back of the bottle. Although I altered it a little bit by increasing the amount of lime and changing the sugar part a bit.
Recipe “Ti ‘Punch Vieux”:
6 cl Clément Select Barrel
3 quarter pieces of lime
2 cl of lime juice
1 cl sugar syrup
3 bar spoons of brown cane sugar
Preparation: Put lime and sugar into a glass and gently muddle with your muddler to squeeze out the juice (without completely squishing it) so that juice and sugar are combined. Add Rhum Agricole, additional lime juice and sugar syrup, stir and serve with ice in a separate glass.
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online.