Review: Clement Rhum Blanc Canne Bleue

A resolution I have for this year is to have more Ti’ Punch drinks because they are simply delicious. What you need for a good Ti’ Punch is a good rhum agricole that isn’t too wild but has enough body to provide the “punch”. One such rhum would be the Clement Canne Bleue from Martinique.

Homere Clement purchased Domaine de l’Acajou in Martinique in 1887 and in 1917 he opened a distillery called Habitation Clement on the estate and thus the Clement brand was born. Because of some financial issues in 1989 the rum production from Habitation Clement was moved to Simon Distillery where it was made until recently – nowadays Clement is distilled at the Fonds Preville distillery where Rhum J.M is also made.

It was in 1996 when the rhum agricole AOC – Appellation d’Origine Controlee – was established in Martinique and it’s a set regulations on how rhum should be made in order to be able to call themselves Martinique rhum agricole. The AOC is a a type of GI (Geographical Indication) generally used to certify the geographical origins of wines, cheeses, and other agricultural products in France, basically setting a certain standard on the goods that carry the stamp.

It’s only Martinique that has the agricole AOC in place, the other French islands and Madeira have a less strict GI for rhum agricole – the Cocktail Wonk has an article here which features Martinique’s AOC and Guadeloupe’s GI where he points out the differences between them.

The name of this Clement expression, Canne Bleue, is a reference to the type of cane used in the production of the rhum. More often than not Martinique agricole rhums will be made from a mix of various species of sugar cane, but this one uses only one strain, the blue sugar cane – named like that due to its purple-blue colour. Clement also releases a yearly vintage version of the Canne Bleue which come in limited numbers.

Clement Blanc Canne Bleue is cane juice based, column still distilled and rested in steel vats for about 6-8 months. Bottled at 50% ABV without any additions.

On the nose it has a nice vegetal moreish feel. Pink pepper, umeshu, green apples and cane juice. Dry sherry, rocket salad, canned corn and some cardamom. It has quite a bit of a peppery bite to it. Plum tomatoes, sultanas and a touch of saffron.

On the palate it becomes even more peppery. Black and white pepper, plums, dry sherry and corn on the cob. Cane juice, palm sugar and green chillies. It’s rich, yet sharp and spicy. Saffron, yellow apples and pears. The finish is long with black pepper and floral honey.

A complex agricole that is balanced, yet intense enough to stand out in any drink – especially a Ti’ Punch. Just add a double measure in a tumbler, add some cane syrup, squeeze a lime coin then drop it in the glass and voila! You’re drinking rhum the French way!

Clement Rhum Blanc Canne Bleue is priced at £36 (The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt) and it’s a must-have if you enjoy agricole rhum.

Clement Rhum Blanc Canne Bleue score:
Flavour/taste: 50/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 80/100


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