Rum Review: Clement VSOP
From the island of Martinique comes today’s selection: Clement VSOP / Rhum Vieux Agricole.
My high school French teacher would remind you at this point that the accent aigu over the first “e” means it’s pronounced pronounced “Clay-mohn”.
The Clement bottle is substantial with a label reminiscent of a fine wine or Cognac. The natural cork stopper is well made and initially covered by thick foil.
With the bottle uncorked, I poured a generous amount into my tasting snifter. The color is a light copper bronze amalgam. As I swirled the contents of the snifter, slender legs appeared, retreating slowly from whence they came.
The nose has a mild astringency, and the tell-tale vegetal signs of a rhum agricole are present. Orange peel and apple are are prominently featured in the aroma.
The mouth feel is slightly oily and there is a significant amount of heat and spice. As I swallowed the first sip, the heat lingered in the back of my throat telling me this rum means business. There is a smoky, grassy character that conjures up images of fresh cane juice entering old copper pot stills.
As I continue to sip and refine my tasting notes, I keep coming back to the notion that agricoles are truly in a category unto themselves. They are rums to be sure, but they are also belonging to a different world–a world with a completely different set of rules. This is what I find so intriguing about cane spirits. There are so many uniquely different products that come from this humble stalk–the mind boggles when I think of how many there are left to try. But I digress…
Harder to define are the subtle hints of nuttiness. There are almonds and walnuts with a smoky quality that suggests roasting over an open flame.
In summary, the Clement VSOP is an aged agricole through and through. If you like agricoles, then you will likely be most pleased with this offering.
I realize this is blasphemy to some, but to be honest, I have yet to find an agricole that gets me really excited. So for me it’s a stretch as a sipper, but I could do so with a few ice cubes. My primary use for this particular spirit is in Mai Tais along with the Appleton 12-Year. In that context, it’s fantastic, but the scores below are for a neat presentation.
Now on to the scores:
- Appearance: 1/1
- Nose: 1.5/2
- Mouth feel: 1/1
- Taste: 2.5/4
- Aftertaste: 1.5/2
- Total Score: 7.5/10