I had the opportunity to sample the Clément XO at my recent visit to RumBa, the rum bar at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston.
This is a beautiful bottle, and I wish that I had it in my collection. Not just for the bottle, of course. The rum is a blend of some very old rums, including those from 1976, 1972, and 1952. Clément claims that the rums from these years “have been recognized to be the finest ever in Matrinique.”
The rums – agricoles to be exact – have been aged in both Limousin and American oaks, all rums in this blend must be aged at least 3 years to achieve the “rhum vieux” labeling per the AOC. Given the earlier statements it’s fairly obvious that some old rums have been used.
This rum sells for about $140-150 on the street, and I paid $28 for a healthy pour at the RumBa.
The smell of this rum is heavy and dry, with some complex barrel smells along with some fruitiness lingering in the background. This is very reminiscent of a cognac.
The taste is strong of the barrel, with a lot of complexities from the wood. It’s definitely dry, and though it reminds me of a cognac this rum tends to be a bit simpler and not as complex as many of the cognacs I’ve had. It is very smooth, with a mild spicy finish that fades quickly at first but retains some tastes that linger.
A second taste brings out some subtle flavors, a touch of honey, some nuts and a tiny touch of tobacco. But these really require come concentration – overall I consider this a simple taste, that is to say, not complex in any bold or assertive tastes.
A Wait And Some Water
I decided to let this sit a bit as I perused RumBa’s menu, and the wait brought out some sweetness, more fruitiness and hints of molasses. A bit of water did nothing for this rum.
This is a very good aged agricole, though not as complex as I had hoped. It has many tendencies of a fine cognac, though a bit simpler. I can easily recommend this rum for those who like agricoles or a dry rum, but this rum reminds me that I like sweet complex rums. I definitely enjoyed it, but I have to wonder if I would rather have a cognac instead.