|Habitation Clément and Clément X.O.|
purchased this 300 acre plantation and pioneered Rhum Agricole from its sugar cane fields. Today this site has transformed into another sort of enjoyable experience. Botanical gardens, a sculpture park and contemporary art galleries can now be sampled in addition to the various fine rhums offered in their boutique. Although our tour provided only a brief view of the new additions, a full day here is justifiable.
I become giddy with excitement as I pass by a few beautifully ripe stalks of blue sugar cane (canne bleue) on the way to...
...a private tasting with Robert Peronet, Cellar Master for Clément Rhums.
Alright, if I must!
Left to right: Clément 6yr GR, Clément 10yr GR, Clément Single Cask, Clément Cuvee Homère
Inside the aging warehouse, the bouquet of aromas is heavenly.
We pass by the location of the original distillery, old machinery relics included, en route to view the other aging cellars. There is a bust of one of the Clément family at the opening of each Chai or cellar. All but one of them are filled with oak casks aging rhum. I learn, there are 7000 barrels, each holding 200 liters, aging at present. One cellar, unlike the others, contains large oak holding vats full of rhum resting before bottling. I learn the alcohol strength of the rhum is reduced each month prior to reaching bottling proof. A gradual reduction is done to ensure the unique aromas and smoky flavors remain in the end product. Also, there is also no caramel or sugar added to the rhum per the AOC regulations. Yes, this is Rhum Agricole folks!
Paying respects to the founder!
|Bust of Homère Clément|
The view is as stunning as it is peaceful on our walk up to the old Créole house rising above. The sugar cane that is used to make their rhum is still grown in the fields in the distance. Also, note the banana trees (see photo) which adds to the microclimate and sustainability of the soil. Before moving on, I stop to enjoy nature's symphony coming from the gentle breeze rolling off the hills and through the leaves of palm trees and sugar cane fields. I could stay longer, but....
It's 'Ti Punch O'Clock!!!
|'Ti Punch Rude|
|Clément V.S.O.P. inside the House of Masters|
Outside the house, under the gazebo, it became time to indulge in a digestif.
A most lovely Clément Rhum and Panatela cigar pairing!!
|Clément 10yr Grand Reserve, Clément Tres Vieux 1976, Clément X.O.|
We took our time and enjoyed each moment at Habitation Clément. The 1976 Vintage is reported to be one of the finest years of Martinique. However, I could not think of a better time to taste it than with present company on this day. Island time at its best!
|Clément Tres Vieux 1976 and Benjamin Mélin-Jones|
To all the staff at Habitation Clément that made for a truly memorable visit,
Je vous adresse mes plus vifs remerciements!