Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From Top-Shelf Sipper to No Thanks: The Fall of Zaya Rum

Zaya Gran Reserva at Rumba
It is rare, for this site, that an article casts a rum into such a disheartening (and now perhaps sobering) light as this one. Don't fear dear readers, our Mission still stands strong. However, there are times when balance and tough love is needed. It isn't without a bit of sadness that I declare Zaya Gran Reserva to be this rum. I can hear many rum lovers' responses now; "WAIT, WHAT!? Are you talking about the same Zaya Rum that I sipped years ago. The Zaya that opened my eyes and those of my friends to world of rum and how good sipping rums can be?" Well, if you are thinking something like this too, here is what I would say to you:

Yes, same Zaya Rum, but...
 Have you tasted it recently? 

No, I'm Not Talking About.... Imported Rum from Guatemala

Let's be clear, this article IS NOT talking about the differences between the Zaya Rum produced and bottled in Guatemala pre-2008 and the Zaya Rum from Trinidad. Now for a quick step back in rum history. In the early part of 2008, Diageo realized the value of a certain rum and, no surprises here, they bought it. That Rum was the lovely Ron Zacapa. Bet that name sounds familiar, eh? Zaya Rum, along with Ron Botran, were also being produced under the same roof by Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala. At the time, Diageo's acquisition created an unfavorable situation for Zaya Rum production due to its similarities with Zacapa; both required a supply of limited aged rum stocks and both competed for more or less the same market share; rich, complex, sweeter style sipping rums. Hence, the brand was moved to Trinidad where it has been produced ever since. What this article IS talking about are the differences observed in Zaya Rum from Trinidad over the past few years.

A Rum's Blend May Change a Bit Over Time or....Metamorphosize 

Everyone with any common sense knew that Zaya Rum would likely taste a bit different after production moved from Guatemala to Trinidad. In fact, some thought it might actually improve! Consider its new location, Trinidad Distillers Ltd., the distillery that makes Angostura Rum, one of the best rum brands in the world. Okay, so Trinidad makes GREAT rum; but they have their characteristic style and that differs from Guatemala. Certainly it takes a lot of skill to come up with a blend of rums, using different molasses and water, different stills, barrels, climate, etc. for each rum, to smell and taste the same, right? Plus, consider that they probably didn't transport a sufficient supply (if any) of the aged rums stocks from Guatemala necessary in the blend to carry them over for another 12 years. So how did they do it? Well, when the first bottles of Zaya Rum from Trinidad came out, there were far more similarities in aroma and flavors to its Guatemalan version than differences. Vanilla and caramel were a bit more dominant in the aromas and flavor, but otherwise, it still maintained much of its complexity, mouth feel and enjoyable finish. Don't get me wrong, it was not the same rum. That stated, if you ask me, Carol Homer did a pretty damn good job with the new blend. What many people didn't expect was that Zaya Rum made in Trinidad would continue to change. Further, that new rum from Trinidad would change so much, that to some seasoned palates, it became unrecognizable to the Zaya Rum they had once loved.

It's Fall From Grace....and the Shelves of Rumba

Zaya's fall from grace isn't meant to be interpreted literally, unless it happens to be at Rumba, one of the best rum-oriented bars in the country. Jim Romdall, their talented bar manager, not only boasts about their 400+ rums in stock but can show you how and what do with them. Bottom's up! More recently Rumba is faced with busier nights and limited shelf space and selecting new rums for their coveted "Wall of Rum" has become challenging. Jim announced to me he was pulling Zaya off Rumba's shelves after he had a taste of the most recent iteration of Zaya Rum. I went down to speak with Jim and after tasting and talking more, he admitted cold-sober, "If someone asks for it, I would recommend a different rum. If I have a bottle on our shelf that I can't recommend [anymore], then I shouldn't have it on our shelves." His words ring true from a business standpoint and from someone who loved what Zaya Rum once was and why it meant so much to so many rum enthusiasts. It was a gateway rum for many people who only knew rum to be Bacardi and Captain Morgan. Rumba, you may know if you'd had the pleasure, is filled with much respect and rumlove, and now, will no longer serve Zaya Rum. Let me repeat, Rumba is going to remove a luxury "sipping" rum from its shelf because they can no longer recommend it based off quality. This is saying something. Although, to be fair, there are lots of other rums that have changed for the worse over time that I won't mention here. So why make an example out of Zaya? Perhaps it is the gross difference between the quality perceived and/or expected of this rum, what it has become and the bartender's frustration on reconciling this disconnect with each patron of the bar. Regardless of the reason, the truth is difficult to swallow (pun intended) and now they have spared you that surprise at Rumba.

What Happened to My Zaya....and By the Way, You Forgot to Take Off the Petate!!

So just what happened to Zaya Rum from Trinidad?  A quick search indicates, that after the Guatemalan version received a "Double Gold" from the respectable 2007 San Francisco Spirits Competition, there are no such comparable "awards" for the Trinidad version to be found. This may be simply explained by whether or not it was entered into any competitions. Professional rum reviews also give some indication of changes witnessed. For example, well-respected rum advocates, such as Dave Russell was one of the first to post a formal comparative review of the Guatemalan and Trinidad versions on Rum Gallery in late 2008. He indicates subtle changes and their underlying explanations when factoring in working knowledge of some of characteristics of Angostura's aged rums. Nice! Then, another well-written and balanced review of the Zaya from Trinidad came out in 2010, from Matthew "RumDood" Robold. He accurately noted, "Its intense vanilla and caramel flavors can either be very welcome or entirely-putting off depending on your palate". Even by the end of 2012, The Rum Howler, Chip Dykstra, found in his review that Zaya Rum from Trinidad, "lacked balance due to the overabundance of vanilla". Despite its noticeably sweeter and unbalanced aromas and taste, each review noted some degree of complexity and character found in an aged rum. So what has happened since between 2013-2015? Bottle changes happened and so did the blend.

It's Not You, Zaya Rum....It's Me

After speaking with Jim and having some personal concern this new finding was a batch issue, I went out to purchase a few bottles at different liquor stores in the Seattle area. I also happened to have a bottle from 2010, before they changed the sticker on its crest to read "Producers of World's Finest Luxury Rum - Aged 12 years" and embossed "Zaya" into its side. It is worth noting that changes in bottle design have long been associated with changes to the contents inside. I tasted each of the 2015 iterations side by side with its earlier counterpart. I even brought out a Guatemalan version from 2008. The Zaya Rum from Trinidad has changed over time without question. I'm not trying to understand why they call this a Hand Selected Spirit, but why it has changed. Moreover, without transparency by the brand of such changes, it is arguably perceived as deception. But I'll admit, I'm no Rum Expert. Zaya Rum today offers a intense candy like sweetness and ripe vanilla and caramel aromas with subdued baking spices and cocoa giving the impression you are smelling a spiced rum, not a sipping rum. Kilo Kai anyone? I note strong butterfinger candybar aroma. I'm sorry Infinium Spirits, I just don't like that much added sugar and flavors. The initial flavors that once developed towards the finish are more heated and hollow in the 2015 version, rapidly fading by mid-palate; the long complex finish, now mostly empty, offering a more astringent mouth feel as some lingering fusel alcohol and petroleum distillate like flavors come together to reveal cough syrup notes reminiscent of Vicks Formula 44. I'm sorry Infinium Spirits, I just prefer honesty to the claim that this is still a blend of 3-5 rums each aged a minimum of 12 years. 

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
John Wooden

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

4th Annual 'Tis The Season for a Holiday Punch Competition & Toy Drive

Young St. Nicholas Punch - 1st Place

Each December, The Rum Collective joins forces with Seattle Gin Society at Liberty Bar and does more than just celebrate our respective spirits; we drink them from a punch bowl for a good cause. That is to raise money for the Toys for Tots Foundation. In fact, over the past four years, it is one of the highlights of the year where our mission becomes even better; it becomes philanthropic. The event's end effect not only  "increases awareness and develops appreciation for rum" but also brings a smile to a few local area children that holiday season. If only every event could be more like this one! This year, guests brought either $20 cash or equal-valued unwrapped toy for a cup of each of the four different (two rum and two gin) punches in the competition. Seriously, "gin vs. rum punch", you ask? Is that even a fair competition? It is arguable  that most well-made rum punches would win. However, this is all in good fun and more votes, made by poker chips deposited in to glasses, could be bought for a small fee. It became apparent (over the past three years) gin people have more money than rum people, but this year, attendees voted without their pocket books and guess what? The Rum Punches took 1st and 2nd place. Not to rub it in but well over half of the attendees were "gin people". Big surprise, eh!

Let's take a closer look at these rum punches!

Young St. Nicholas Punch feat. Diplomatico Anejo
This punch was created as the greeting cocktail for The Rum Collective's 3rd Anniversary event featuring Ron Diplomatico. It was well-received by guests then and now. Simple, refreshing and balanced, here is the winning punch of the event! 

Young St. Nicholas
recipe by Rebekah Karnofski

(single serving)
0.5oz lime juice (fresh pressed)
0.75oz grapefruit juice (fresh pressed)
3 healthy dashes of Angostura Bitters


Korporal Krampus's Quarterdeck Punch - 2nd Place
This year we had special guest, Jason Alexander, create the second rum punch. Hailing from Tacoma Cabana, he tends and owns one of the best tiki bars in the country and it's located a convenient 40 minutes south of Seattle, Jason does tiki with the best of them. His tiki punch featuring the recently released Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum awakened many palates to the complexity of flavors found in this style of cocktails. A more or less magical potion overflowing with happy endings, his was the first punch bowl to go dry!

Jason Alexander serving it up
It was the United States Marine Corps who founded Toys for Tots, so military men and women are more than welcome at this event. In addition to a being an award-winning bartender and owner of one of the coolest up-and-coming cocktail bars in Washington State, Jason, also a marine, served his country prior to choosing a station behind the bar. Respect! Well, when some quality overproof rum flows, lips loosen, and soon the running joke of the evening recalled Proctor & Gamble's Secret punchline and went something like this:

"Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum, Strong enough for a Marine, but made for the Navy"

Probably good we didn't have any folks from the Navy there! Haha!!

If you make your way (and you should) to Tacoma Cabana, ask for this punch. Jason may serve it to you as he envisioned it (see photo below). 

Korporal Krampus's Quarterdeck Punch
photo credit and permission by: Jason Alexander, Tacoma Cabana

Korporal Krampus's Quarterdeck Punch
recipe by Jason Alexander

1.5 cups grapefruit juice (fresh pressed)
1 cup lime juice (fresh pressed)
1.5 cups vanilla spiced syrup (Tacoma Cabana house-made)

In addition to sampling punches, the night was filled with many raffle prizes and two silent auctions. Although we didn't meet the fundraiser goal, we managed to raise $736 dollars that night for local area kids! All of the money and toys raised at the event were donated. To collect the donation we had the pleasure of having a decorated marine, LtCol Michael J. Byrne present with us at the event.

Left to Right: Gene Shook, LtCol Michael Byrne, Nicholas Feris

A big thank you to Ron Diplomatico, Lost Spirits (both distributed by American Northwest), 
Giffard and Vinum for their generosity and support!

A round of applause for Jason Alexander's service and skills!

Special thanks to Andrew Friedman of Liberty Bar for his continual support of our events!

Thank you to Toys for Tots for their commitment to helping children!!

Cheers and rumlove until next year!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Festival to Shine in Nassau: A Look Back at the Promise of Rum Bahamas 2014

Festival Rum Bahamas 2014 Opening Ceremony
Today, we are fortunate that there are many events happening around the world called, "Rum Festivals". They sell themselves on their name. Sometimes, they hold true to their namesake; sometimes they do not. Not surprisingly, people get excited about the Rum part, I mean, seriously, who doesn't? Rum conjures up scenery of the Caribbean islands surrounded by turquoise waters, pirates, beautiful people and that tropical heat. But what about the "Festival" part? Many who go to "Rum Festivals" more often find air-conditioned rooms, characterless banquet halls under fluorescent lights inside stuffy hotels and convention centers. Instead of the white sandy beach paradise they imagined, attendees are surrounded by carpeted walkways and sterile white rooms straight out of the sitcom, The Office. Thank you, but no thanks, you can keep that type of festivity. For me, I'm headed to a Festival like no other. Where's there's hot sun overhead, the natural environs of the Caribbean, captivating water views among endless booths overflowing with exotic rums, island food, local crafts and plenty of live music. One needn't search any further for this sort of festival, for it's returning to Nassau at the end of February. Oh yeah! Set inside the stone interiors of Fort Charlotte, its charms will offer something special for each visitor who makes the trek. This historic venue will set the stage, but Festival Rum Bahamas will flaunt more than just ruins and rum, it will inspire to re-capture the idea of what it means to be a 'festival'. Whether you prefer it shaken or stirred, this three day event showcases a delicious and rather intoxicating blend of rum, food and culture for any palate. Sound exciting?! Well, don't just trust my words, get a ticket and go see for yourself! In the meantime, here's a inside look at some of the rum-filled fun that happened last year.

Local rum and food pairings!

John Watling's Pale Rum & Conch Salad

A quick sample of some of the goods from Ron Botran...

Ron Botran booth 

...and smile or two from Bacardi

Bacardi booth

Historical canons line the walls of Fort Charlotte....

....and in the distance the hip shaking rhythms of Cuban Music....

Havana Club Rum and Cuban music

....of course mixed with Havana Club!!

Havana Club booth

Walk around to see booths filled with local artists selling their crafts 

Local Arts and Crafts

Decorative relics of yesterday...

How about a refreshing mixed drink, Caribbean style?

Fresh coconut water and Rhum Clement VSOP

Award winning rums and local beauty.
You needn't read the shirt to understand such a combination produces "Body Solutions"

Gold medal winner Plantation 3 Stars with G's Spa & Body Solutions

Festival Rum Bahamas 2015 is coming soon. Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

World-Class Rum Tasting Auctioned Off to Benefit Children

Top row: Clement X.O. & Brugal 1888
Bottom row: Mount Gay 1703 & Angostura 1824
This holiday season began with a cocktail: goodwill mixed with rum. It started with a personal request from a friend, one of the Boyer Children's Clinic Board of Directors, to donate a rum tasting for their annual Inspiring Journeys Auction Gala.

I believe if you can share 10 of the best rums in the world (and a cocktail) to benefit children with neuromuscular diseases and developmental delays along with their families, then this was a tasting worth donating and that is what I did...

Ten of the finest rums available from around the world have been selected. This one-of-a-kind tasting is to take place in a breathtaking Capital Hill condo with sweeping views of downtown Seattle. The evening includes complimentary valet parking by Butler Valet, catered food by Mojito and a personally guided discussion through each of these world-class rums for 15 guests. If you have been to any of The Rum Collective's many educational events, you would know a greeting cocktail is compulsory. For this tasting, such a cocktail will be served as well. What to choose? A cocktail to begin an evening indulging in some of the most remarkable rums in the world must be of comparable quality. This cocktail, featuring Papa's Pilar Blonde Rum, is the perfect choice (see photo below).

May I interest you a Hemingway Daiquiri? 
Rest assured, it's made with only the finest ingredients...

Hemingway Daiquri featuting Papa's Pilar Blonde & Luxardo Maraschino
Oh yeah!

All of the rums selected for the tasting were chosen by the following order of criteria: quality, geographic representation and style, and availability in Washington State. Also, the rum must be donated by the brand. Well, guess what? "Big (and small) Rum" just gave back!! The list of rums in the tasting will include: Clement X.O. of Martinique, Brugal 1888 of the Dominican Republic, Mount Gay 1703 of Barbados and Angostura 1824 of Trinidad (see earlier photo). The other six selections in the tasting represent some of the most eminent rums out of Spain, Panama, France, Venezuela, Guatemala and Puerto Rico and are Ron Navazos Palazzi, Ron Abuelo Centuria, Plantation 20th Anniversary, Ron Diplomatico Ambassador, Ron Zacapa XO and DonQ Gran Anejo respectively. This intimate, guided educational experience will feature these rums in a select order and presented in snifters donated by Liberty Bar.

Behold some more of the most prized rums on the planet. 

The donated tasting was part of the live auction portion of the Gala. The bidding prices began at $500 and escalated rapidly. The tasting sold for $1600!! The winning bidder of the live auction was announced on stage and provided with a celebratory glass of Brugal 1888 to mark the occasion. Yum!!
"Proceeds will provide direct services, such as therapies, special education preschool classes, medical consultations, and family resources for the 750+ children and families Boyer Children's Clinic serves each year."

A sincere thank you to the owners of the condo, Butler Valet, Mojito, Liberty Bar and each of the brands who donated their product to create a first-rate rum tasting to benefit Boyer Children's Clinic!!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Rum Collective's Selection of the Season: Plantation Single Casks

Plantation Single Casks: Panama 8yr Old Reserve & Guatemala XO Extra Old Reserve

Plantation Rums intrigue almost every passer-by with their looks and shine of artisan craftsmanship in the glass; just give them the opportunity. These Rums not only stand out in their respective categories when compared to their peers in tasting competitions, they win. Cream rises, right? If you are in love with the C. Ferrand's unique rum expressions already, then what I am about to tell you, may give you a reason to propose and tie the knot with Alexandre Gabriel himself. Kidding...kind of.

It is a pleasure to announce that these two gorgeous Plantation Single Cask Rums are now available in Washington State!! (see photo above)

Such wonderful news is not only a beautiful beginning to this holiday season (more awesome Rum!!), but a long-awaited, perfect ending to our fourth rum-filled year here in Seattle. It was an honor to have been approached by Plantation for such an opportunity and needless to say, the longest running rum society in the USA accepted. These two Single Cask expressions were "selected by The Rum Collective" for there rich and remarkably complex flavor profiles. Wait, what? New Plantation Single Casks coming to Seattle in time for the holidays? Yep, that's right, but here's the caveat; they are a "Limited Edition" release, as in once they are gone, THEY ARE GONE. Interested? Keep reading...

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Plantation Single Cask: Panama 8yr Old Reserve / Cask 1/10; Bottle 394/450

She's gorgeous alright! 

Rums from Panama aged for 8 years in bourbon cask, then finished in Pineau Des Charentes Cask and bottled at 43% ABV. 

Now, feast your eyes upon this...

Plantation Single Cask: Guatemala XO Reserve / Cask 12/16; Bottle 301/450
Absolutely Stunning!

Old Reserve Rums from Guatemala, finished in Sauternes Cask and bottled at 40% ABV.


You may find these rare gems at a few rum loving bars, like Rumba and Tacoma Cabana. But don't wait too long...

However, if you want to buy a bottle (or four), they will be sold exclusively at Wine World & Spirits. The Rum Collective will be having a complimentary tasting at Wine World and all attendees will have an opportunity to buy them first at a discounted price. Buying is suggested! Please see the event below for details.



Don't miss it!!

Master of Malt's 2014 Advent Calendar: The Coming of Rum

The Rum Advent Calendar (2014 Edition)
Advent calendars, for many, give a sense of excitement of what is or is not to come. They often bring forth fond memories of childhood, filled with special surprises to keep you calm (or calmer) as the countdown to Christmas, although numbered, seemed like an endless period of time. The idea is perfectly simple. A box, more or less rectangle-shaped, made of cardboard, decorated with images of Christmas lore shrouding a series of small numbered demarcations which are opened to reveal something special. Inside you find an uncertain present, like a wrapped piece of chocolate or toy to open each day until December 25th. Fun, right? Don't you miss it?? Well, now, you don't have to; and we are not talking about chocolate here folks. Behold an adult-only calendar. Nice! No, not with nude photos or sex toys; come on now, keep it clean. We are talking about adult beverages, specifically, the sugar cane spirits kind. Oh yeah!! Master of Malt has done it alright...and they did it right. Their 2014 Rum Advent Calendar featuring their very cool Drinks by the Dram concept has captured that innocent childhood-like fun and increased the proof. Naughty! That's right rum lovers, each day you can look forward to a new dram of quality rum (not to worry all you whiskey, tequila, cognac and difficult to understand vodka types, they have you covered too). Hmm, what will today have in store, Jamaican or perhaps Bajan? Is tomorrow going to be filled with Demerara dreams or hot night in Trinidad? You never know what the next numbered box might have in store. Instead of reindeer, wrapped presents and elves in snow on its front, you get a member of the British Royal Navy, or perhaps a pirate-gone-privateer enjoying his latest rum booty with his faithful dog by his side. Check out the view of the sea and a bounty of rum bottles on the shelves. Seriously, how fun is that!? Well, after learning of this temptation last year, the opportunity to experience it this holiday season could not be missed. The holiday season just got better. Time to set a course for 24 days of rum and fun, so let the countdown begin!!

Starting December 1st, follow along each day on The Rum Collective Facebook page as we journey through each offering from the 2014 Rum Advent Calendar!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Rhum Clement X.O. - A Death in the Family

We all imagine the time will come when there will be no more time. Like an older relative or loved one, we understand there will be a point at which, their life will end, when we will receive a phone call from a family member, informing us of the expected, yet otherwise unimaginable. We attempt to understand what it may be like, but don't really want to know. Then, that point arrives and the seemingly infinite amount of time on Earth is suddenly fixed; you hang up the phone and are left with memories and a void. You cannot change what has happened, but notice an ache deep inside, knowing such times will no longer be. This is how I felt after hearing that Rhum Clement X.O. had died.

Composed of the best vintages (1952, 1970 and 1976) Martinique has ever seen, its aromas and flavors were well received and impacted many. These vintages, despite their most appealing qualities, were produced in limited quantities. We often take for granted those with so much meaning in our lives, and as a r(h)um lover, I am guilty of this as well. An amazing rhum comes along, however you don't fully appreciate it in the context of it never being readily available again. History repeats and this timeless story is told again. Its passing is a great loss to anyone who appreciates world-class spirits and it saddens me knowing the future of rhum agricole will no longer have one of its finest expressions at hand. In trying to relate what this rhum meant, I have requested comments from many of those in the rhum community about Clement X.O.'s passing.

Here are some of the comments from friends, family and those who have came to know and love this rhum agricole tres vieux:

It's sad because it was the first agricole that visually (X.O./Bottle) connected itself with French brandy making for me. I think Martinique could benefit from that connecting and pedigree more. I typically avoid r(h)ums that have spent more than 15 years in a barrel. I have never avoided Clement X.O.  
---Steve Livigni (La Descarga, Scopa Italian Roots, The Chestnut Club)

We will remember it as one of the best of all the french caribbean. The last tears of it have already been consumed and our tears won't replace the pleasure and feelings we had to enjoy the last sips of it. Let it rest in peace alongside the master, the Dr. Homere Clement, for now and eternity 
---Benoit Bail (Liqeuers et Spiritueux, Zwazo Rum)

So much more than a series of age statements, the X.O. straddled both brilliance and belligerence with sweet bright notes layered over a dense almost over charred, finish. 
---Chris Morales (Rhum Clement)

This won't be the last retired iconic spirit as demand for quality far exceeds the old stocks that exist to provide it. Drink the good stuff while you can! 
---Jim Romdall (Rumba)

I once traded a bottle of X.O. for an excellent bicycle. Now that bicycle makes me sad. 
---Wayne Curtis (Author - And a Bottle of  Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails)

Clement X.O. was my introduction to aged agricole and has remained a favorite for many years. I started with the best and have never found a worthy substitute. It will be a very sad day in the rum world when it is finally....Until then I'm hoarding every bottle I find.  
---Mike Streeter (Rum Connection, International Rum Council)

I just can't believe X.O. is gone. It seems like only yesterday I was drinking X.O. out of a bottle in New Orleans with Jeff Berry and Blair Reynolds...the times we had, they will carry me forward. 
---Matt "Rumdood" Robold (rumdood.com, 320 Main

Well, I'm sad to see it go. It was a lovely rum, very austere and agreeably dry. Despite the advanced aged of the component rums, it never presented as over-oaked. Fortunately, the Clement range continues to expand with fine new offerings that help soften the blow.
---Martin Cate (Smuggler's Cove)

You were my first top shelf premium rum. Although you were excellent to sip on, your true calling was being paired up with Appleton 21yr for the luxurious Fifty Dollar Mai Tai that so many people enjoyed on their birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and holiday celebrations. The Fifty Dollar Mai Tai will never be the same and for that, you will be truly missed. 
---Jason Alexander (Tacoma Cabana)

It belongs to the ages now... 
---Chris Carlsson (Spirits Review

It's the end of an era personally. The Clement X.O. was the first truly high end agricole I ever had and I will remember it always with its nod to Cognac.
---Rocky Yeh (American Northwest

It's with great sadness mixed with warm emotions that Clement X.O. has depleted its rare stocks and has departed our rum cabinet for the great cellars in the sky.
---Benjamin Jones (Family, Rhum Clement

X.O. we hardly knew ye, but your legacy lives on. Vive le Vieux!
---Paul Clarke (Imbibe

It says a lot for Clement's integrity if they discontinue X.O. for a missing ingredient: most brands would just fiddle the formula!
---Ian Williams (Author, Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776)

The bottle that effectively pushed a certain Controlee brandy (au revoir Cognac) off the tiny Sambar shelves and solidified our Rhum-centric nature. It was all Agricole after that. 
---Jay Kuehner, (Vessel, Sambar

There will be a void in my rhum cabinet after the death of the excellent Clement X.O.
---Ian "Rum-Ambassador" Burrell (The Rum Experience

It's not often one's compelled to write about a rums passing. Most rhums, even great ones, simply....disappear...News of Clement X.O.'s pending extinction --barrel aged stocks of the 1952 vintage essential to its DNA are depleted - caused a tear drop as large as the shapely bottle it's presented in. No ordinary rhum, X.O. combines that elusive and exclusive complexity of aromas and harmony of flavors that other master blenders aspire to achieve. They will fall short. Clement's estate grown sugarcane and distillates are available only to them and to you in these always collectible yet soon to be extinct bottles. Hoard now, enjoy at leisure, cry later.
---Dave Russell (Rum Gallery, International Rum Council)

Habitation Clement and Rhum Clement X.O.

Rest in Peace Clement X.O.