Via the AOC laws, sugarcane can only be harvested during the dry season because the brix (sugar content) is more concentrated. 95% percent of sugarcane in Martinique is cut using a sugarcane combine harvester Martinique is part of France and workers benefit from the same benefits such as 35 hour work weeks, 25 days paid vacation, free healthcare, and free education.
After sugarcane is crushed and maximum extraction is achieved, the juice is pumped into fermentation tanks and French baker’s yeast is added to begin the open tank fermentation process. Rhum Clément is fermented for 24 hours until the sugarcane wine reaches an ABV of about 4.5%. This lower than average ABV for sugarcane wine makes for ideal reactivity with the copper parts of the stills and results in the preferred rhum flavors. The AOC rules for fermentation state that fermentation must be discontinuous and no sugar enrichment techniques may be used (in particular the addition of sugar by-products to the juice). Maximum allowed fermentation time is 120 hours and the ABV of fermented juices may not exceed 7.5%.
Single Column still adapted from Armagnac still.
Top Section (enrichment zone) MUST be copper and 5-9 plates.
Bottom section (stripping zone) must have at least 15 plates
Injection happens between enrichment and stripping section.
Distilled to 65%-75% ABV.
Column cannot be more than 2 meters in diameter .
”Resting” Rhum Blanc is very important and specific to the AOC Martinique. This process allows the organic esters and compounds that form during fermentation and distillation to soften and integrate slowly. During this process, many favorable aromatics are intensified and many unfavorable congeners naturally dissipate. The AOC demands that rhum is rested for at least 3 weeks though most Rhum Clement blanc is rested for 6 months or more.
Rhum Clément has 6 cellars tropically aging over 12k barrels. Martinique experiences 8-9% angel share. The majority of barrels are ex-Bourbon though we also use new American oak and French.