Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rhum Clément to Introduce Rum Sweetener Clement Sirop to State


Perhaps taking its tip from the way mixologists are insisting on agave syrup as the only proper sweetener for tequila-based cocktails, the savvy Matinique Rhum Agricole producer, Rhum Clément will in January introduced to the U.S. market Rhum Sirop (see above), a cocktail sweetener made from pure sugar cane. Until now, the stuff was only available to the denizens of the small French island.

The Sirop (the spelling is native to the island) is made of sugar cane that doesn't meet A.O.C. standards and thus doesn't make the cut for rum production. Like simple syrup, its cooked down with water into a viscous fluid. The color comes from the cooking process. There is also a spiced version of the Sirop and it's this product that Rhum Clément will be importing. I tasted it and its just heavenly. Wonderfully complex with a luscious mouth fell. A 750ml bottle will go for $15. Bottles will be available in January.

Recently, managing director (and Clément family descendent) Benjamin Melin Jones sat down with me to taste through the company's rum line. I had already been a fan of the company's popular Creole Shrubb, as well as the fine Premiere Canne Rhum Agricole Blanc (both around $32 and a bargain as such) long before the recent change in bottle design. The new bottle shapes, I believe, are meant to catch the eye of the scotch and Cognac drinker.

I can see why the distiller would want the attention of brandy lovers, because the Clément Cuvée Homère and Clément X.O. both boast characteristics found in the finest Cognacs. The Cuvée Homère goes down like velvet sandpaper, a bit of spice riding atop the buttery smoothness. It's composed of aged rums taken from the 2001, 1997 and 1992 vintage (though that mix will change soon, as certain vintages become scarce.) It runs $100 in stores.

The X.O. meanwhile enjoys an incredible blend of 1976, 1970 and 1952 vintage rum. (Think of that before you flinch at the $140 price tag.) It's a beautiful rum meant for deep contemplation, with toast, honey, vanilla and spice notes, and a lot more notes I could mention if I hadn't been enjoying it so much at the time. (Sadly, the 1952 component will be coming out soon, but no doubt replaced by something as good.) I've have never contemplated spending $140 for a rum, but I'm beginning to think I might break that law for a bottle of my own of this elixir.

Jones also treated me to a sip of pure 1976 vintage rum. Such single vintage are not available in the U.S., though that mike change in the future. This one was amazingly lively and bright for being 33 years old. Orange, lemon, orange peel, spice and a lot more.

2 comments:

Edward Hamilton said...

"The Sirop (the spelling is native to the island) is made of sugar cane juice left over after the distillation process is finished. Like simple syrup, its cooked down with water into a viscous fluid. The color comes from the cooking process."

Are you kidding me? There is no sugar cane juice left over after the distillation process is finished.

Someone missed something in the translation here.

Robert Simonson said...

Ed: Indeed, I had it mixed up. It's the leftover sugar cane, not the left over sugar cane juice, that's used for the sirop. Sorry for the confusion. I've corrected the post.

I don't mind having made the mistake, however, since it caused rum master Ed Hamilton to comment on my blog.