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Clément Premiere Canne

Review: Clément Premiere Canne Rhum  (79/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published June 06, 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.

Clément Premiere Canne Rhum is produced from from the distillation of fresh pressed sugarcane juice whose terroir is exclusive to varieties of sugarcane from Habitation Clément. The distilled rhum rests for just over nine months in a stainless steel vat and is then slowly brought to bottling proof (40 % abv) with distilled volcanic spring water.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

In my locale (Alberta) Clément Premiere Canne is sold in the tall slender bottle shown to the left. The label is eye-catching, and the corked closure adds a touch of class to the presentation. A small quibble I have is that these tall long necked bottles often do not fit well on the shelves of my home bar.

I believe the bottle may have changed since the product was brought into Alberta. I have included the bottle shot from the Clément website down below as part of my Cocktail suggestion.

In the Glass 8/10

It must be my imagination, because at first I thought at first that there was an ever so light hue of colour within the rum in my glass. The Premiere Cannes was rested for nine months in stainless steel, and if many whisky and vodka producers are correct, this resting period actually marries the flavours together and improves the smoothness of the spirit. That may be true, but it shouldn’t impart even a smidgen of colour. I checked again and decided that the backdrop colour from my wooden table was responsible, and the rhum is indeed clean and clear in the glass.

The breezes above my glass indicate a veritable smorgasbord of scents and smells. I am reminded of a fragrant new-make scotch except with a ripple of cane inthe breezes. Alongside that ripple of sweet cane, there are citrus spices, fresh flowers, hints of yellow apples and banana, and even vague hints of dark plums and cherries. A touch of mint and licorice, some green grass and light indications of tea and cocoa are also present.

I like the complexity, but part of me is worried that the menagerie is perhaps just a little too wild especially as a light vegetal note that has popped up begins to remind me of cachaca. I guess I will find out as I begin my tasting sessions.

In the Mouth 47/60

There was a Canadian band which was quite popular both north and south of the border in the late 70s and into the 80s. The band was called Triumph, and one of their most popular songs was called Magic Power. There is a line in the song;

I’m young now, I’m wild now, I want to be free

and I guess my imagination was in overdrive as I was sampling the Rhum because I could swear I could hear  Rik Emmett belting out those lyrics.

And to me that kind of sums up Premiere Canne. It is a young and wild spirit, but just like that Triumph song (which has a backbone of hard rock) there is a firm backbone of wild agricole cane flavour within the dram. Everything I noted in the aroma comes though as I taste the spirit. Maybe there is a little more mint and licorice coming through, but other than that the taste descriptors match the aroma almost completely. If you sip this spirit neat, it is a wild ride. Perhaps just a touch too wild as the young alcohol does have a little bit of a bite, and that hint of vegetal cachaca has found a haunt within the Clément Rhum.

Because of that alcohol bite, the spirit is not suited for sipping. That exuberance needs to be tempered within a cocktail. I had a good starting point for my cocktail explorations with three suggested servings on the producer’s website. My favourite was the Agricole Daiquiri and I have shared it shown below.

In The Throat 11.5/15

The Premiere Cane is a little rough in the exit (this is an unaged a white rum). I taste impressions of plantain, licorice and ghostly flavours of oak, sliding down the throat accompanied by a citrus spiciness which is followed by a lingering impression of sugar cane syrup. I am not sure where that ghostly impression of oak is coming from, maybe that’s my imagination again.

The Afterburn 8/10

Clément’s Premiere Canne is a nice example of unaged Agricole Rhum. Compared to a typical white rum, this agricole is much more complex and brings a bit of an untamed atmosphere to your libations. In the cocktails I tried the spirit worked out fairly well, but I admit that the frenetic flavour of the spirit may take me a little while more to completely warm up to.

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Recommended Cocktail

Agricole Daiquiri

2    oz. Clément’s Premiere Canne
3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
1/8 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
Ice
Lime Slice

Add the four ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a Slice of Lime

Enjoy!

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 rum or whisky.  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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