Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rhum Clement: A Tasting Through the Years - A Review

The Rum Collective's mission stated at the beginning of each meeting is:

to enhance awareness of and develop appreciation for rum, from the still to the cocktail, in Seattle and beyond.

This evening, in our return to Liberty, we did just that...and more. Guests arrived and were properly greeted, not just by the ambience of a room filled with Rhum Clément, Benjamin Mélin-Jones and other like-minded rhum enthusiasts, but to a 'Ti Punch making station. Oh yeah! In Martinique, when served this cocktail, one may hear this charming phrase:

Chacun prépare sa propre mort
"each prepares their own death"
'Ti Punch station

Clément Sirop de Canne (front) & Clément Première Canne (back)
This meeting's greeting cocktail was done the Martiniquaise way; each guest had the opportunity to prepare their own. The cocktail is simple, yet delicate. However, balancing out the flavors of the lime and Sirop de Canne with the rhum agricole takes a little practice. Of course, no one had any problem trying their best at  tempting fate again and again. It made for a fun hands-on learning experience. Practice makes perfect!

Clément 'Ti Punch
2oz Clément Première Canne (use Clément V.S.O.P. for a 'Ti Punch Vieux)
1 lime piece (disc shaped; 50/50 ratio of pulp to zest)


The 'Ti Punch table included all the fixings including ice, Clément V.S.O.P and Clément's new swizzle sticks (see photo). Modeled after the Le Bois LéLé, one was provided to each person at the 'Ti Punch station. This sort of schwag was a hit. Technique is important and a proper swizzle to mix up the ingredients is a fun ending to this potent libation. Ben talks to the individual preferences surrounding Martinique's national cocktail and the story of making a 'Ti Punch for his uncle as a kid. Swizzle!!                                        
For more on 'Ti Punch see our previous article here
As everyone settled with a 'Ti Punch in hand and a plate full of yum from Seattle's little known (and best) Cuban restaurant, Cafe con Leche, we focus our attention to view a short video...

Six snifters sit before each guest as Ben speaks, introducing each expression. We begin the tasting with the Clément V.S.O.P. It is almost like he is introducing you to his family members. We listen and sip, learning about how each expression is produced, be it a an aged single vintage rhum or a blend of select vintages. Many guests comment on the rich character of and differences between the 6yr and 10yr Grand Reserve. The opportunity to taste through each expression in their portfolio provides not only valuable comparative information, but makes for a well-rounded experience.

The final expression in our line-up is the Clément Single Cask.

Clément Single Cask
 This rare rhum is made from canne bleue (blue sugar cane) only and is known as a single varietal. It is a single vintage, aged for eight years and bottled at 43.6% ABV - cask strength. Clément Single Cask is available only at Habitation Clément at present. The room went silent as we raised our glasses full of this exceptional expression, nurtured to perfection by cellar master, Robert Peronet.  
Simply Amazing!!!

The closing cocktail appeared in the impromptu style in which it was created. Keith Waldbauer, co-owner of and bartender at Liberty, has a knack for creating awesome with no notice necessary. That's right folks, this cocktail was conjured moments prior to the meeting. Refreshingly complex, it boasts a fusion of Martinique Rhum and asian flavors, complimented by a combination of bitters. It's always exciting to witness the creative talent coming out of Liberty. Win!
Tao of Anarchy: Chapter 7
by Keith Waldbauer
1.5oz Clément V.S.O.P.
0.75oz Lemon juice (fresh-pressed)
0.5oz Orgeat
Ginger Beer
Red Chile Garnish
A desert nightcap was necessary for such a special meeting. A bowl composed of Peak's Frozen Custard (chocolate) coated with Clément Créole Shrubb and finely chopped pistachio nuts was served. Chocolate and orange were meant for each other and the pistachio made for a ménage à trois. It was a flavor explosion in the mouth and the effects were memorable.
Introducing Mt. Pelée!

Mt. Pelée
A round of applause to Keith Waldbauer, Andrew Friedman and the staff at Liberty for their hospitality and preparation for this rhumtastic event!
Special thanks to Ben Jones for an informative tasting and taking time out to join us again in Seattle!!

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