Thursday, May 4, 2023

Review: Clément VSOP Rhum Vieux

Color (5%):  Very light, faint gold honey, no brown. Medium thinning at the edges. 4/5

Nose (10%): There's a bit of salt. Lots of fresh sea air. Sweet notes of butterscotch. The sugar notes are more delicate. Dried fruits and orange marmalade 8/10

Palate (20%): Nice and oily. Lots of orange coming through on the back end. Nutty, almond, and amaretto notes dance around. Some coconut milk slips in. Creamy butterscotch. Actually, it's dry in terms of sugar content. It's odd talking about sugary flavors and saying that it's not sweet, but that's how rum works. 17/20

Finish (10%): The heat lingers for quite a while. Lots of grassy sugarcane flavor and lots of spice. It's dry in terms of sugar content. 7/10

Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): It's been a while since I sipped rum neat. This is quite enjoyable. I bought this for mixing in tiki cocktails, and it certainly is great for that, but it's decent on its own. I would like a bit more age here, but it's a tasty gold rum. Lots of complexity, a great body, and a great mouthfeel.   25/30

Retry on Ice (25%): That's really nice. The spices come out a lot more. It's more punchy all around. All those oils open up to something big. I don't notice anything major being lost. This pops, and I want to have this in tiki cocktails. 23/25

Total Ranking: 84% Legendary, AmazingGreatGood, Fair, Average, Tolerable, Swill

Estimated Fair Price: $44
Actual Price: $36

Conclusion:  If you seek an excellent rum experience and education, try this. Rums are broken down into innumerable categories from color to country to age to language to the method of distillation to everything under the sun. Your best rum bartender couldn't narrow rum into fewer than 10 categories. Other rums within similar types will do the job in place of this in cocktails, but this boy has some depth of character. This will work in fruit-forward tiki drinks and in rum old-fashioned cocktails. With just lime juice and sugar, this will make a tremendous daiquiri.

I like an agricole, it has a serious earthy pure taste. It feels like nothing is hidden or masked. Finding an application for this rum is easy, but I can't give it a perfect score. I need help thinking of a rum that beats this one out in terms of friendliness and versatility for the cost, but it'll never be the best option for my applications for specific cocktails. If I were building a cocktail menu, I'd opt for cheaper rums for my builds, but If you want to explore the rum cocktail world, this is a significant investment that will meet so many of your needs. If you have yet to try it, buy it. Buy it early on. You will probably find a different rum that you will like a bit better for your own applications, be it neat or in cocktails, but this is a great benchmark to start at and develop a frame of reference from. I'm happy to have this on my shelf; it's an easy teaching rum. If you can be a mentor/guide for someone into the rum world, you should have this. 

Fact Sheet:
Country: Martinique
ABV: 40%

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