Review: Clement Rhum Vieux Agricole VSOP (Limited Edition Packaging 2022)

International Ti’ Punch Day is here and if you follow Clement on the social media you would know they are at the forefront of the celebrations. I’ve already reviewed the Clement Canne Bleue where I’ve confessed my love for a good Ti’Punch so on this occasion I decided to have a look at this Clement VSOP which is packaged in a limited edition bottle and box.

This is the standard Clement VSOP in a pastel coloured bottle that supposedly is a visual representation of the explosion of flavours you get when you taste the rhum – it was released to celebrate the end of 2022, so the liquid isn’t different, but it makes for some pretty photos.

The Clement brand traces its roots all the way back to 1887 when Homere Clement purchased Domaine de l’Acajou in Martinique. It was on this estate where he established the Habitation Clement Distillery in 1917, but following some unfortunate turn of events, the production of the Clement rhums have been moved to the Fonds Preville Distillery.

Clement VSOP falls under the Martinique AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) so it’s categorised as Martinique Agricole Rhum. What that means, long story short, is that the rhum is made from fresh sugar cane juice, uses short to medium period fermentation and is distilled using only creole column stills. The VSOP on the label tells us this is aged for at least 4 years.

Barrel-wise Clement VSOP uses a combination of virgin French Limousin casks and re-charred ex-Bourbon barrels for maturation – although I’ve been told the char level is low.

Clement Rhum Vieux VSOP is cane juice based, creole column still distilled, aged for 1 year in virgin French Limousin casks and 3 more years in re-charred ex-Bourbon casks. Bottled at 40% ABV without any additives as per the Martinique AOC regulations.

On the nose it feels fruity and earthy. Green grapes, dusty old books, plums and yellow apples, Floral honey, saffron, palm sugar and grassy layers. The oak gave it a nice orchard fruits profile. Blueberries, pencil shavings, cherries and shoe polish. Mandarins, white wine and white pepper.

On the palate it’s a bit smoky as well. Aromatic tobacco, red apples, Grand Marnier and black pepper. Burnt oak, hints of juniper and a touch of angelica root. It becomes rather floral when tasted. Berries, passion fruit, sea salt and some allspice as well. The finish is medium with orchard fruits and cassia bark.

This is a rather lovely aged agricole rhum, plenty of complexity and spice for a 4 year old – I’d say it’s the heart of the Clement range and well worth having a bottle in the collection.

Clement VSOP is priced at £46 (Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange) which is just a little more than I’d like to spend on a 4 year old that clocks at 40% ABV, but aged agricoles are known to be a little bit more pricey outside of the French territories.

Clement Rhum Vieux Agricole VSOP (Limited Edition Packaging 2022) score:
Flavour/taste: 51/70
Value for money: 13/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 79/100


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