Rum is a fun category. Aside from the differences between aged and unaged, there are spiced rums as well as designations to denote from what the spirit is distilled. Rum is usually, but not always, distilled from molasses, which is a sugarcane byproduct. Rum and rum variants can also be distilled from fermented sugar cane juice or fresh-pressed sugar cane juice. And on top of the production process, there are also geographic differences. Cachaca is made in Brazil (and distilled from fermented sugarcane juice), while Rhum Agricole is distilled from freshly-pressed sugar cane juice in the French West Indies. And if it’s made in Martinique, then it carries a government-stamped AOC (protected designation of origin).
Rum is definitely a product of “terroir.” The raw ingredients and the soil in which they’re grown affect the final product just like distillation, blending and aging.
All that’s a long introduction to our latest review – Rhum Clément Premiere Canne, a Martinique-produced Rhum Agricole.
Rhum Clément was established in 1887 and continues to produce a solid line of Rhum Agricoles, including the unaged Premiere Canne Blanc and a handful of aged spirits. Rhum Clément Premiere Canne is vegetal and grassy on the nose. Drink up to find an earthy, complex mix of flavors ranging from chocolate to orange peels to burnt sugar. The grassy notes remain throughout the tasting experience, and it finishes very dry.
Rhum Clément, and all agricole rums, taste far different than your average Caribbean-style white rum. The usual molasses is replaced with vegetal notes, and it’s much less sweet than other rums, which means that drinkers might not even recognize this as rum. But if you’re into rhum agricole, this is a good one.
While it can certainly be consumed straight, rhum agricole finds more use in cocktails, like the classic ‘Ti Punch, which is the national cocktail of Martinique. It’s delicious and very easy to make, as it combines just three simple ingredients — rhum agricole, lime and cane syrup.
If you’re in the market for cane syrup, Rhum Clément makes a great one. Their Sirop de Canne adds a sweet and spicy flavor note to ‘Ti Punch that pairs well with the earthy rhum agricole.
1.5 oz rhum agricole
1 barspoon cane syrup
Cut a thick lime disc so there’s plenty of zest. Add lime disk to a rocks glass, and pour cane syrup on top. Muddle. Add rhum agricole, then add a few ice cubes and stir.
Rhum Clément products are available in more than 65 countries worldwide. The 80-proof Rhum Clément Première Canne retails for about $30.