Cuvée Homére Clément

Cuvee Homere Clement

Product of:  Martinique
Aged:  blend of rhums from vintages 1991, 1996 and 1999 
Price: $85
Alcohol: 44% ABV 
Sugar: 0g/L
Context: Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating: 10

Tasting Notes
Very Smooth.  Color: Yes, Cuvée Homére Clément is that perfectly exquisite shade of amber coveted by so many other distillers and rums collectors.  The aromas manage to achieve a perfectly elegant balance of sweet and dried fruit, vanilla, pecan, autumn spice and oak, alcohol, fresh tobacco and cane, delicacy and complexity.  In a word; gentle.  Initial tasting elicits deep spicy and wood flavors that build slowly in intensity, opening up to a complex symphony of fine notes, each performing its own brief solo.  A body that is medium-light in weight, almost dances on your tongue as prelude to an encore  finish that goes on and on, fading slowly and peeling back layers of flavor, one after the other, each in turn waving au revoir.

Anecdotes
Rhum Clément is produced from A.O.C.-certified sugarcane grown on premises at Habitation Clément. The fresh cut sugarcane is crushed within the hour, ensuring the pure flavors from the terroir and unique character of the estate-grown sugarcane finds its way into the rhum. The sugarcane is harvested in Spring, cut low to the ground where the glucose is most concentrated.

Fermentation is initiated when an organic, house strain starter yeast is added to the free run cane juice (vesou).  Organic field yeasts found on the outside sheath of the sugarcane stalks take over the process of  converting sugar to alcohol.  The vesou is fermented from five to seven percent ABV in open-top tanks for forty-eight to seventy-two hours. A créole single-column copper still yields a spirit low in alcohol - a requirement of the official AOC agricole specification.  After distillation, the fresh cane spirit is placed in stainless steel tanks to mellow.  

Homére Clement barrel

Rhum Clément  attributes the distinctive character of its rhums to “the superb alchemy of rhum and wood orchestrated by the cellar master,” using oak barrels of two origins – French Limousin and American oak. Clément loses 8-10% of its aged rhum each year to the "Angel's Share", typical of Caribbean producers.  To help off-set this loss, barrels are topped-off, guaranteeing that the rhum is always of the same vintage. 

The final presentation is exquisite, as is appropriate to the care taken in  produciton.  A heavy angular square bottle sits in striking contrast to the script label etched in gold on glass, making a beautiful combination that visually rewards the owner of this elegant rhum.  The attractiveness of a full bottle, with its deep amber rhum inside coloring the image of habitation Clement, may cause you a moment's hesitation before opening.  But of course, the carafe is ultimately a pandora’s box, and temptation triumphs over restraint.  You do, after all, want to experience the entire rhum.  Twist off the substantial gold cap and your path of discovery takes another pleasant turn; its metal!  Impressive as the packaging is, the rhum is even better – Cuvée Homére Clément is truly a magnificent rhum agricole.

For a brief history of Rhum Clément, click here.

Opinion
Cuvée Homére Clément is an exquisite rhum, in every way a fitting homage to the renowned distillery’s founder, and one that you feel honored to drink and humbled to appreciate.  Superior in every regard, Cuvée Homére Clément has achieved the pinnacle of fine rhums, a quality others can be held against.  The entire presentation is simply outstanding. 

Reviewed: February 2009 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2014