How Rhum Clément is made
Rhum Clément is a rhum agricole – i.e., it is distilled from fermented, freshly harvested sugar cane juice (not molasses). Importantly, Rhum Clément is made in accordance with the regulations of the Rhum Agricole Appellation Martinique Contrôlee.
Production starts with sugar cane grown on Rhum Clément's own fields in Martinique.
During the harvest period, between February and June, the harvesting is by a machine that trims the unwanted tops off and cuts the cane just above ground level.
The cut cane is collected from the fields.
And loaded into large trucks that make the short drive across the island to the distillery.
The freshly cut sugarcane is crushed to extract its juice, called 'vesou'.
The vesou is fermented for 24 to 36 hours in open-air vats to produce a sugar cane wine called 'grappe'.
The grappe is distilled at 75° maximum (according to the AOC rules) in order to preserve the sugarcane natural aromas.
As well as being made from fresh cane juice (not molasses), Rhum Clément is also set apart from other rums by its slow hydration. After leaving the still at 74% alc./vol. the strength is slowly reduced in stages of 5% alc./vol.. This process takes 2-3 months but is said to lead to a more balanced rum.
The majority of Rhum Clément is bottled as "blanc rhum agricole" without maturation in oak but a proportion is aged in both vats and casks to become Élevé Sous Bois (1 year) rhum Agricole or Vieux (min 3 years old) rhum Agricole. The very best casks are set aside to be bottled as Hors d'âge and Vintage rhum agricole.