Clément X.O (2016-onward)

Clément X.O Bottle-RG1

Product of:  Martinique
Aged:  6 years minimum
Price: $50
Alcohol: 44% ABV 
Sugar: 0g/L
Context: Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
Clément X.O shows a luscious mahogany color like burnished copper, truly a precious sight in a tasting glass.  Swirl, and watch as the residual rhum produces a dense crown saturated with tiny rhum beads.  A multitude of long thin legs soon from, rum the length of the glass adding smoky caramelized sugar layer to the herbaceous bouquet as they eventually disappear.  Then deeper aromas of old oak, charcoal, black licorice, tobacco, mild cinnamon, heavy dark bread and candied fruit appear.  

Clément X.O Bottle & Box-RG1

I liken tasting this rhum to an entrée – and of course dessert is included.  You’ll discover a mild flavor of semi-sweet, high-cocoa-content chocolate before a balanced medley of spices including cinnamon, white pepper and vanilla, supported on a medium full body with the texture of oven-fresh fruit cake.  The rewarding finish delivers a slight burn that stops at top of throat, then a prolonged sweetness like chewing on fresh sugarcane, as if the entire tasting experience was played in reverse as a reminder of Clément X.O’s  elegance. 

Clement XO Bottle Final edit

Anecdotes
Clément’s reserves of the iconic X.O, a treasured blend of three vintages (1952, 1970 and 1976) ran dry by 2014.  As precious few of the teardrop bottles bled thorough distribution channels, a successor had to be nominated.  Clément’s remarkable 6 Ans got the approving nod, as it was both big on flavor and true to the Martinique A.O.C. definition of how long an X.O rhum must mature in oak. 

Opinion
After a minimum period of of six years aging in new French oak barriques and re-charred ex-Bourbon barrels, the grassy sugarcane spirit is transformed like a chrysalis into a delightful rhum.  Clément X.O is a beautiful successor to the previous version that wore the X.O crown; which was a  multi-millésime blended X.O.  The fresher 2016 heir supplants the former’s blend of vintages with complex herbaceous aromas and dessert-like flavors.  Is it a direct replacement?  Heavens no, that’s not the point.  Is it different?  Of course.  But is it delicious?  Also yes.  Served neat, Clément’s latest X.O delivers all the hearty agricole vieux flavor you could ask for.  Add a splash of water or a rock of ice and it transforms into a velvety smooth pussycat purring of sugarcane goodness.  Colorful, complex, with a slightly edgy feminine bouquet that reflects its origin yet delivers masculine flavor – Clément X.O redefines what a rhum vieux agricole is capable of.

Reviewed: October 2015 at The Rum Gallery, USA, and and February 2013 on Martinique.  

© Dave Russell 2017