A lot has been written about Renegade already and you can easily read about it elsewhere. Let’s just try to sum up the most important key points here:
- terroir driven cane juice Rum
- everything from seed to bottle is fully controlled by Renegade
- instead of buying an existent Rum distillery, it seemed to be more lucrative to build one from scratch (reputable distilleries such as St. Lucia Distillers, Mount Gay, Appleton, WIRD and La Mauny have changed hands during Mark Reynier’s investigations)
- the goal seems to be ultimately finding the ideal combinations of land, cane variety, yeast, distillation and barrel type
What I absolutely love about the project is the level of transparency and detail that you get. The back label features a “CaneCode” that can be entered on this page. The following screen shots show just a tiny fraction of the information that you can find for my bottling of the Dunfermline Pot Still (as an example) so please feel free to fully explore it for yourself (Code: PC06H20-P1).
Renegade New Bacolet 2021 (50%): Located in the southern part of Grenada, New Bacolet is said to be more rugged than nearby Old Bacolet. It is sheltered by a forest at its north and slopes down towards the south. While the Yellow Lady cane variety is also grown on the estate, where four distinct terroirs were identified over 21 acres, Lacalome Red (more below) from the “goat hill” field, which stands on the terroir known as Upper Combe, has been used for this Rum. Nose: Fresh, clean and floral. We get apricot, peach, daisies and sweet, sour cherries (you know what I mean…). Palate: Citrus fruits, herbs, quality dry white wine and fresh grass. You could easily mistake this with a well-made Agricole from Martinique. Lovely stuff. Finish: Medium long with cherries, a whiff of vanilla and citrus fruits. I like where this is going, even though I am missing a potentially characteristic “Renegade” note here! (80/100)
Renegade Old Bacolet 2021 (50%): Old Bacolet was one of the first areas to be cultivated by the French and houses multiple cane varieties these days. This Rum uses the “Cain” variety, which has a high yield and grows quickly. From Renegade: “The shoots have a yellow – green complexion and are topped by a thick and large canopy. The lush canopy increases photosynthesis helping the plants to grow and mature faster. This variety was grown in Grenada on a small scale previously. Cain prefers sandy, shallow soils and performs well on expansive, flat and generally wettish fields”. Nose: Dirtier and more earthy than the New Bacolet. Also quite a bit “fatter” with brine, thick caramel, apples and even a hint of acetone. Palate: Cleaner and less dirty than the nose on the one hand, but also way more briney on the other. I am not sure what to make out of this. It isn’t bad at all, but clearly not my fave. Now more and more olives (the not so yummy green ones), campher and cumin. Also wet herbs perhaps. Finish: Relatively long actually, with the aforementioned herbs, cherries and clearly cinnamon. Solid stuff, but it just doesn’t do it for me. (77/100)
Renegade Dunfermline Pot Still 2021 (50%): The cane variety used for these Dunfermlines is Lacolme Red (or B80689), named after the area where it has been planted first and its reddish to brownish colour. It is said to be high in yield and sucrose content, with a great drought tolerance. Nose: Very fat “dirty” and umami. Olives, dried tomatoes, figs or dates, fresh soil and brine are my first associations, followed by more subtle, slightly sweeter notes such as plum juice or dry caramel. This one does it for me. Palate: Thick and creamy with those same umami notes that we’ve also found in the nose, mostly olives, dried tomatoes and the heavy fruits. With the second sip also bell peppers, grass and seasoned beef. Finish: Medium long and still meaty with brine, tomatoes, plums and caramel/ toffee. Very good and distinct. Much closer to Guadeloupe than to Martinique if you want. It is amazing how different this is from the New Bacolet, which uses the same cane variety. (82/100)
Renegade Dunfermline Column Still 2021 (50%): The only column still distillate of this first release series. Nose: And you can immediately tell the difference. We get a mix of fruity and vegetal notes. Apples mingle with persimmon, earthy salad and leek. Behind that yoghurt, honey and minerals. Palate: Ouch. Totally different from the pot still Rums. It has this low quality fruity schnaps character that’s paired with pepper, allspice and some of the vegetal/ earthy notes from the nose. What is more, the texture just isn’t up to par and the Rum feels a bit boozy. Finish: Short, vegetal, forgettable – you easily notice the difference in distillation, even if you are not tasting this for science. The nose was really good, the rest not really to our liking. The only Rum of the bunch that isn’t worth bottling in my mind. (69/100)
Renegade Pearls 2021 (50%): Once again, let’s simply quote Renegade themselves: “A stone’s throw south of the distillery, there is an intriguing terroir between mangrove and water meadow, with at its centre a distinctive bank of iron-rich volcanic laterite. Cane grows vigorously on this water-retentive soil, derived from Woburn & Perseverance Clays. For this rum we harvested the elegant variety we call Yellow Lady from the “grapefruit” field, which stands on the terroir known as Flats. […] The air that washes across Pearls is cool. This, in conjunction with a swamp touching the base of the farm, allows for a rich maintenance of water-retained soil”. Yellow Lady requires relatively much rainfall, but then it grows quickly with very sweet shoots. It is a very uncommon variety in the Caribbean. Nose: Crisp and sweet with plenty of fruity notes. I get mango, raspberry, bitter almonds, perhaps even strawberry and dry vanilla. Very good. Palate: The smoothest and most sippable of the bunch, despite having the (seemingly) most volatile substances. Vanilla, mango, the mix of berries, banana and crisp, green apples are my main associations. Finish: Medium long with vanilla, apples and banana. I’d locate this somewhere between Martinique and Jamaica in terms of style. It is not totally distinct, but definitely recommended. (82/100)
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