A recent virtual road show from Spiribam — the corporate owner of Rhum J.M., Bounty, Chairman’s, and Admiral Rodney rums — brought a number of its brands into the limelight. While we’ll have coverage of a couple of additional ones soon, we first look at one of the company’s most prized operations, Rhum Clement, an agricole producer in Martinique.
Clement produces a solid 10 different rums and rum-related products in its permanent lineup — plus a variety of one-offs and single cask releases. We’ve reviewed many of these in the past — though their names have shifted over time. Today we look at a collection of four. Let’s dig in.
Rhum Clement VSOP (2020) – Aged four years in virgin French barriques and ex-bourbon casks. Though the nose can be a bit rustic and punchy with petrol notes, the rum is otherwise light on its feet and built for mixing. (Think tiki.) Gentle notes of lemon and spice give the attack some easy approachability, while a funky, hogo-heavy backbone makes the main event a bit more straightforward, with a few rough edges. Notes of cinnamon red hots and red pepper hit on the otherwise soft, caramel-heavy finish. 80 proof. B+ / $39 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Rhum Clement Cask Collection 3 Years Old American Oak – The Cask Collection is a series of limited edition, roughly VSOP-level barrel-strength agricole rums. This specific one is from the 2019 program (and is no longer for sale); it is aged three years in unused American oak barrels — a rarity for rum — and bottled at full proof. It’s certainly hot up front on both nose and palate, aromas running to toasty oak, almonds, and ample charred wood. The palate surprises with an interesting, floral hibiscus character, then plenty of chocolate and vanilla come on strong soon after. Some of the traditional trappings of rum are well evident here — coconut husk, banana, hogo, and vanilla syrup — but all filtered through ample alcohol. A nice choice for a float. 113.2 proof. B+ / $NA
Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb – Creole Shrubb is Martinique’s answer to triple sec, a “blend of the finest white and aged agricole rhums, married with macerated Créole spices and sun-bleached bitter orange peels.” In addition to the new sample, I have ancient bottle (vintage 2005, maybe?) with a straw lattice that wraps around the decanter. Hefty notes of mandarin orange percolate the nose, with the slightest hint of lime leaf. The palate however comes across as less sweet than expected, a bit grassy with ample mandarin character — and a slightly buttery, vanilla-dusted note on the finish. It’s certainly a versatile liqueur, one to check out if you want less of a blunt orange impact and more pastoral nuance. Compared to the 2005ish version… it tastes virtually identical. 80 proof. Impressive. A- / $30
Rhum Clement Mahina Coco Coconut Liqueur (2020) – They call it a liqueur rather than a coconut rum, but it’s really both. Like many of Clement’s products, this coconut liqueur is gentle and mild, an exploration not just of coconut but also pineapple, tiki spices, and ripe banana on the back end. Use it in place of any coconut rum — but mind the very low abv. 36 proof. A / $24