Le Simon is the distillery that’s producing both, Clément and HSE and it is one of the few Martinican distilleries of which we’ve got independet bottlings. Not many, but there were a handful, some of which we will have today. Now we do not know if these Rums were intended for Clément or HSE, or neither even, who knows.
Compagnie des Indes Le Simon 2008 11YO (42%): Nose: Quite Whisky-like and barley heavy. Then a mix of apples and foul pears, or the juice of them which is slowly turning to cider or even vinegar if you want. Very strange and unusual stuff. Later more herbal notes and even more barely. It kinda reminds me of Bruichladdich I think. Palate: Well, it is Rum, but once again with lots of similarities to those barley-heavy Whiskies. Different sorts of grains, corn perhaps, salty popcorn, those fruits from the nose again and even if this were to my liking, which it isn’t, it wouldn’t have enough power to convince me entirely. Once again, rather weird stuff, as matcha and lemon now join the profile. Finish: It is getting a lot better here actually, and the finish might be my favorite part of the Rum. We now get ginger, oak, lemon pie and some of those matcha notes again. Nevertheless, this is not my cup of tea, sadly, and nothing like any Clément or HSE I know. (70/100)
Isla del Ron Clément 2005 15YO (49,8%): Isla del Ron mention Clément as the distillery, but chances are that they do not even know that Clément isn’t an active distillery these days so naturally, we take that with a grain of salt. Nose: It immediately reminds me of a few HSEs I know. There are plenty of fruity notes such as ripe papaya, banana, sour pineapple and lemon as well as more grassy (cane) aromas and clearly also honey. Then bubblegum, baked banana (dipped in honey), not too much wood and a few spices from the cask. Quite good! Palate: Not too different from the nose with many of the same notes. We get a more sour set of the very same fruits (plus honey dew melon) that’s getting more and more dry towards the finish. There still isn’t too much wood though. Now oranges, thin branches, a mix of plums and cinnamon, cloves perhaps and even some slightly smoky notes. This surely works for me! Finish: Relatively long with the smoke, honey, different (medical) herbs and oak. A very fine, yet also rather unusual Rum. While I’ve said that it really reminds me of HSE during nosing, I wouldn’t say so anymore with the complete picture. It is clearly a profile of its own. (87/100)
The Duchess Rhumerie du Simon 2004 14YO (61%): Nose: Quite close in profile to the Compagnie des Indes (CdI) with those grains and Whisky notes. It still isn’t particularly good Whisky, but at least the aromas are now delivered with the necessary power. Compared to the CdI, we can now also find a few sweeter notes akin of red berries. Nevertheless, this is still a highly simplistic Rum and I do hope that the palate has more in store for us. Palate: Slightly sharp but creamy and certainly not boozy. Barley, hop, citrus, oysters, dry white wine and mustard seeds are good descriptors for this profile I think. That might sound decent, but personally, I am still not a fan. Finish: Short and unlike the CdI, without any of those lovely additional notes, unfortunately. All things considered, I prefer this to the CdI, but mostly because of the cask strength. The former was probably the better barrel. (72/100)