Today we take a fresh look at Rhum Clement, a Martinique-based producer of rhum agricole, which is rum made not from molasses (the norm) but of free-run sugar cane juice. This year Clement celebrates its 125th anniversary, and it’s redesigning its packaging and adding a new product, Sirop de Canne (a bottled sugar syrup). We consider them both below.
Rhum Clement Premiere Canne (2012) – I last encountered this rum in 2008, and I find my feelings about it haven’t much changed. It’s very much like a better cachaca, fueled by gasoline character but tempered with loads of lemon, orange peel, and cut grass character. The sweetness is surprisingly mild for rum, a side effect of using sugar cane to distill the rum instead of molasses. Most rum drinkers will get knocked off the swing with this one, but enthusiasts will find real charm here. 80 proof. B+ / $35
Rhum Clement Sirop de Canne (2012) – A nonalcoholic sugar syrup the color of honey, and about the consistency of it, too. A lovely syrup, with the distinct flavor of gingerbread. Nutmeg and cloves on the back — and strong on the nose, too. Ingredients include “pure sugarcane, water, and natural aromas,” however that last bit works. Certainly not for straight consumption, but the holiday character here could really spice up a cocktail or punch. I’m into it. A- / $12