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Rum Reviews

1952 Rhum Clement, 38 Years Old, Martinique, 44% ABV

 

Its been awhile since my last review, thus I thought I would do something old, something special, like an old agricole rhum that dates back to the 50s.

One of the few distilleries that has been synonymous with AOC Martinican rhum, @rhumclement has been distilling pure cane juice rhum since 1887, when its founder Homere Clement acquired Domaine de l’Acajou. Since then, the company had been operating out of the Clement estate up until 1989, before its Creole column stills were moved to the nearby Distillerie du Simon, although aging of its rhums continues to be done on the Clement estate itself.

The rum we have today is of the 1952 vintage distilled and tropically aged at Domaine de l’Acajou for 38 long years, before finally being bottled in 1991. I imagine there must have been a tremendous number of casks, even with the practice of decanting and refilling their casks every few years to reduce the angel’s share. Another fun fact is that while most consider the 1952 to be Clement’s oldest vintage, there are actually bottles from an older vintage, 1950 to be exact, that may still be found at the Clement estate’s museum. One more little nugget is that the bottle I have is one that was bottled pre-1996, before the AOC was officially introduced, which is why my bottle simply states “Tres Vieux Rhum Agricole Pur Martinique”, instead of the later bottles that indicated its compliance with AOC regulations.

On the nose there is no question that this is an agricole rhum. Those rich chocolatey notes, plasticine, balanced with a little mint freshness, red fruits, fresh dates and figs. Its bottled at 44% abv, but the nose hits you much harder than you would’ve imagined, and brighter than any 38-year-old rum, agricole or otherwise.

The palate is grassy and bright, unimaginably fresh and has a unique sweetness that I’ve not come across before, but also probably limited by the number of agricole rhums I’ve tasted. Texture-wise is where it perhaps falters slightly, thin perhaps. There’s a mild hint of that oak and dryness in the mid palate, slight bitters. The finish is long and where it becomes really fruity, citrus, preserved orange peels, dried hawthorn flakes. Its a tad medicinal and herbal, but in a intriguingly good and pleasant way.

I certainly am no expert in rhum agricoles considering the little that I’ve tried. But all things considered, I do think that this is one very delectable rhum that exists almost like a landmark rum, one that captures the essence of rhum agricole production in the 1950s, and how great cask and liquid management can result in something so subtle, so elegant, even after 38 years in the barrel. This one is a keeper for sure.
 

Image Courtesy of @weixiang_liu

 

Your occasional rum addict!

@weixiang_liu