Spirits Review

Rhum Clément Canne Bleue And Select Barrel Rums

What makes French West Indies–style rum (called rhum agricole) so interesting is that it’s fermented and distilled from only the juice of fresh-pressed sugarcane rather than molasses, a byproduct of sugar production. This lends the spirits a little funk and a whole lot of flavor. Rhum Clément’s new release, Canne Bleue, is one of the best I’ve tasted and a fascinating study in a single variety of cane. It’s grassy, with quince, green mango, pine and mint aromas while a blackberry fruitiness gives a sensation of sweetness even as it ends bone dry. Also worthy of attention is the new Select Barrel, a blend of several single-cane rums aged three years in used French oak barrels. The wood tempers a bit of the agricole funk, bestowing the rum with sweet spice, vanilla and an almost pine nut–like note. It’s a versatile pour, good mixed into a drink or on its own, and a terrific value at the price.

Reviewed in W&S Winter 2014.