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Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum

Review: Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum (85/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published June 03, 2019

The word “rhum” is the French spelling for our English word “rum”. However, the differences between Rhum agricole and Rum are much deeper than just a twist in spelling. This is because the French traditions of making rhum in the French West Indies differs from the Spanish and English traditions of rum production in the rest of the Caribbean. A major difference in the production of agricole rhum is that it is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice rather than fermented molasses.

Clément Agricole Rhum has been produced on the Isle of Martinique since 1887. Although the agricole  Rhum is distilled at the Simon Distillery, the rhum is finished at Habitation Clément (built on the site of a former sugar refinery) which was purchased by Homére Clément in 1887.

Rhum Clément VSOP begins its maturation in the cellars of Habitation Clément in new French oak barrels. After a period of at least 1 year in these smaller french barrels, the rum is then transferred to larger re-charred Bourbon barrels for another 3 years. The final spirit is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Clément V.S.O.P. is sold in the squat cylindrical bottle shown to the left. The impression one gets when looking at the bottle is one of quiet masculine elegance. The heavy glass bottom implies substance and the sharp angled shoulders of the bottle lend that masculine appeal. The neck of the bottle is of medium length just long enough to allow you to pour a nice dram without the hazard of spilling.

In The Glass 8.5/10

When poured into a glencairn the spirit shows itself with a warm amber colour. When tilted and twirled we see a slightly thickened sheen on the inside of that glass, the crest of which drops slender reluctant legs.

The breezes above the glass contain a combination of fine oak spice accented with woodier cedar notes. There is some butterscotch toffee, hints of maple, bits of dried raisins, and indications of both orange peel and orange marmalade in the breezes. Hints of cinnamon and ginger can be found as well as a light wisp of vanilla. As the glass breathes impressions of banana and raisins can be found with perhaps a hint of grape-like cognac.

In the Mouth 51/60

In the delivery, the spirit seems to resemble cognac more so than rum as it brings forward a dry complex flavour profile. A firm hit of spicy oak heats the palate. There are underlying flavours of dry raisins, coconut and soft banana and almond. After we sip a few more times more fruitiness particularly green grapes and gooseberries is apparent.

If you like dry spirits then the Clément V.S.O.P. is certainly a sipper with or without ice. However, the spirit is also a very nice cocktail mixer as the character of the Rhum shines through cocktails giving them an added dimension of flavour.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The spirit is light to medium bodied and has a dry mid-length finish featuring spicy flavours of oak, ginger and hints of cinnamon. We also receive impressions fresh green grape, butterscotch, and light hints of vanilla and butterscotch. The palate is left lightly heated.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

It seems to me that Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum would be a very nice spirit for those who enjoy both rum and cognac as it seems to have characteristics of both spirits. I suspect that the initial aging in french oak barrels is partially responsible, but I also believe that the unique manner in which Rhum Agricole is produced contributes as well. Regardless of how this cognac-like character has arisen, it would be true to say that it is a welcome addition to the multilayered canvas which is rum.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

This cocktail is a variation of the modern Side Car . I have of course substituted the very cognac-like Clement V.S.O.P. in place of the Brandy in the serving, and added a dollop of orange juice.

Darling Clémentine

1 1/2 oz Clément V.S.O.P.
3/4 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice
Lemon Slice (optional)

Add the first four ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon slice (optional)

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 

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