We've got spirits fests, yes we do
Snob versus Snob

Wet Wednesday

On Wednesday I stopped into Elixir for a Rhum Clement tasting. I tried five products- the white Premiere Canne rum, VSOP rum, the Cuvee Homere, XO, and Liqueur Creole, a rum-based orange liqueur. All the products were delicious, and I piggily asked for seconds of the XO because it was terrific (and I can't afford to buy any).

As I'd been recently studying cachaca that is also produced from sugar cane juice instead of traditional rum's molasses, I was curious to try the line. (Note: it tastes nothing like cachaca.) I spoke with Ben Jones, General Manager of Clement USA and a Clement family relation, and learned a ton about rhum agricole and their distillery.

Rhum agricole is produced on French-speaking Caribbean islands. Rhum Clement is from Martinique. It is subject to AOC restrictions, just like cognac. This means that only specific varieties of sugar cane may be used, and they have to test one out of every ten sugar cane stalks to ensure it has the appropriate sugar content.

The rum ages in barrels, but the temperature is so hot the barrels sweat rum and have to be sponged off. Thus, the angel's share losses are huge. After 35ish years in barrels the wood starts to overtake the rum, so sometimes it is moved into glass containers for storage after that.

The rums are kept as distinct vintages, so that in the X.O. product, for example, they can say it contains rum from vintages 1952, 1970, and 1976. They don't really sell individual vintages of rum, except through auction houses like Christies.

That was just some of the cool stuff I picked up. So when I'm done with the next 76 projects, I look forward to tackling rhum agricoles.


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