The fact that Rhum Agricoles form one of my favorite spirits genres was certainly mentioned here on the blog every now and then. Nevertheless, a repetition of that is a somewhat thankful introduction to an article in which it will be once more about Rhum Agricole. Specifically, about two different Rhums from a very well-known and also already reviewed manufacturer: Clément on Martinique. (provided test product)*
About five years ago, I first described and tasted a rhum from this distillery here (and also wrote about Rhum Agricole in general), which is why I will refer to it for general information on the Clément brand. Therefore, without further ado, I can go into medias res and introduce the two bottles that I want to put under the microscope here today. On the one hand, there is the Clément Canne Bleue Vieux 2020 and on the other hand, the Clément Canne Bleue Single Cask. The names sound similar, but they are two different rhums. And attentive readers (or, of course, enthusiasts of Clément’s rhum range) may have noticed that a Rhum Canne Bleue has already been discussed here. In the linked article, one also learns that the name Canne Bleue is the name of the sugar cane variety that was used for the corresponding rhums. Neither the two bottles today, nor the rhum (God forbid) have a bluish color accordingly.
The Clément Canne Bleue Vieux 2020 is Clément’s vintage rhum for 2020, which is special in that it is the only time a matured rhum made exclusively from Canne Bleue sugar cane is released. The bottle contains a blend of Canne Bleue rhums with an age range of between three and eleven years. It was aged in former bourbon barrels and fresh American white oak barrels. The abv for the bottling is 42% vol.
Tasting Notes “Clément Canne Bleue Vieux 2020”:
Aroma: Very nice and rich caramel, then green wood, as is so typical of Rhum Agricole. I also smell fruity notes combined with a promising sweetness that makes you think of candied fruit. Vanilla notes are also in the mix as well as some nutmeg, a hint of clove and oak.
Taste: Again, caramel, sugar cane with woody notes, which turns out surprisingly dry, I like that very much. Then I find slightly burnt brown sugar, physalis, cotton candy, bourbon vanilla, oak, cinnamon, candied fruit again (especially oranges) and some milk chocolate.
Finish: pleasantly dry with woody notes and spices.
Closely related to this rhum and therefore also part of this article is the Clément Single Cask 100% Canne Bleue. You can already tell by the name that this is also a matured Canne Bleue, which is thus basically an exception to the house rule described above. However, while we were just talking about a blend, we are now dealing with a bottling from a single cask, which is accordingly also more limited. I have before me bottle 329 of 537. The rhum was distilled in 2016 and bottled at 41.6% vol. after four years and five months in a former bourbon cask.
Tasting Notes “Clément Single Cask 100% Canne Bleue”:
Aroma: A very exciting aroma of vanilla, honey and golden straw. Behind this are subtle herbal tones of chervil or very subtle rosemary, but also spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. While at first I looked at the bottle in amazement to make sure I hadn’t accidentally poured a Lowland single malt from the ex-bourbon cask into my glass, the typical agricole notes of woody, slightly greenish and sweet sugar cane then appear over time. In addition, bright fruits such as pears or peaches now shine through. Really exciting and extraordinary!
Taste: A powerful, jumped-in balancing act of vanilla, honey and sweet associations on the one hand, while on the other powerful spicy notes of sugar cane with herbs and spices are along for the ride. It’s very special to find both present in unison, which is almost overwhelming, but then again uniquely exciting. Associations of fresh coconut flash briefly, but then give way again to a potpourri of bright dried fruits.
Finish: dried fruit, coconut and sugar cane again, long and aromatic.
Now the obligatory question: what can you do with Rhum Agricole in cocktails? Very, very much and very, very nice things! Unfortunately, the classic repertoire of Rhum Agricole cocktails is not that large. A Mai Tai, maybe even the classic Ti Punch… but that’s the end of the road for most people. However, it is often an interesting and exciting alternative to rum in classic rum cocktails, giving them a whole new flavor. But also instead of cognac or bourbon, an Agricole can set very successful accents. In a first drink suggestion today, I created a kind of orange-toned Old Fashioned variant, made with Amaratto (here I used the Adriatico) and the really well-suited Clément Créole Shrubb, also from Clément. The drink is called Le Train des Plantations for its multi-layered flavors and is named after a small museum railroad on the island of Martinique that runs through sugar cane and fruit plantations.
Recipe “Le Train des Plantations”:
5 cl Clément Canne Bleue Vieux 2020
2.5 cl Clément Single Cask 100% Canne Bleue
1.5 cl Clément Créole Shrubb
1 cl Amaretto Adriatico
0.5 cl D.O.M. Benedictine
2 dashes The Bitter Truth Bogart’s Bitters
Preparation: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until cold and pour into the pre-chilled glass over solid ice.
Garnish: grated nutmeg
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that these products have been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.