Sunday, March 17, 2013

NEAT: Improving The Way You Drink R(h)um

Rhum Clément Cuvée Homère and The NEAT Glass

The type of glass you choose to experience your favorite spirit is important. Generally, one should try to use a vessel that compliments the spirit inside. Ideally, when drinking a rum neat, select a glass that accentuates or permits the character of the spirit to be fully appreciated. Why? Simply because fine spirits are meant to be enjoyed, that's why. Answer not good enough for ya? Let me explain. In many cases, your initial thoughts on a rum, without having any previous knowledge of it, will often come from your sense of sight and smell. The glass you use may have considerable influence over these; particularly smell. To clarify, I am referring to a glass that enhances your ability, or rather improves perception of the spirit's aromas upon nosing it. Recognizing the aromas rising from your glass is key and will often give you an indication as to the spirit's complexity and flavors to look for once in your mouth.

Many of the aged Rhum Agricoles, including several expressions by Rhum J.M. and Rhum Clément , are almost as lovely to smell as they are to taste. In the case of a rich and complex Rhum Agricole, such as Rhum Clément Cuvée Homère, only a glass that adequately displays its lovely bouquet will do. That glass is The NEAT Glass. I had the pleasure of meeting this Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology (NEAT) Glass last year in Miami during Rum Renaissance. Since then, I have come to prefer it on many occasions over other snifters I had used previously. It doesn't hold the visual appeal of a classical snifter (actually it first reminded me of a candle holder), but this glass does have numerous advantages. Here are just a few: First, let's get technical. The NEAT glass's curvaceous design has been shown to allow for the slower moving aromatic molecules in the vapor to concentrate in the center of the opening while at the same time allow the the faster moving ethanol to escape. This allows you to detect more of the rum's desirable aromas while reducing some of the straight alcohol vapor exposure. For those of us who are "challenged" in the olfactory department, a little help is more than welcome.  Note, these claims are reported to be backed by chemical analyses and numerous panel tastings. Second, the NEAT Glass does not tip over easily and thereby reduces spills and breakage. Third, you can stack it making it great for transport and storage in small spaces. Oh, and don't just take my word for it, it is now the preferred glass for the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. However, I suggest you remain skeptical and do better yet; procure one, hold your own comparisons and thank me later.

In the meantime, let's get back to the lovely Rhum at hand. The NEAT Glass presents the aromatic charms of the Clément Cuvée Homère for all to feast upon. This blend is a harmony of three unique, highly-rated vintages aged in French Limousin and re-charred American Oak that will keep any rum drinker involved and satisfied. I offer a simple summary description of its aromas from our NEAT time together. Initially, I detect a welcoming scent of warm, toasted bread rising up among a spread of dried fruit and candied nuts revealing spice and woody notes. The light, yet distinct presence of sweet sugar cane is balanced with the toned oak character. I also note a provocative vanilla scent throughout as if a delicate perfume was in the air. Martinique dreaming! This fine Rhum, or any other fine spirit for that matter, would be well presented in The NEAT Glass. 



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