There’s a new rum about to hit the US that’s unlike the rums most Americans have tried before.
Renegade Rum just released a lineup of terroir-driven, single-farm spirits that are unaged and have a flavor profile that might take some getting used to—but anyone interested in forward-thinking spirits should give them a try.
Mark Reynier, Renegade’s founder, played a large part in the revitalization of the Scotland’s Bruichladdich distillery and is also the founder of Ireland’s Waterford Distillery, which also focuses on terroir in spirits. Reynier is also known for making his unique take on how spirits should taste and be produced very clear, and that certainly comes across with these rums. The distillery is located in Grenada, a country with a long history of rum production, but the team at Renegade is forging their own path.
The new lineup is called the Pre-Cask Collection, as the rum is un-aged to highlight the flavors derived from each bottle’s particular terroir and specific farm where the sugar cane that is the base of the spirit, instead of the usual molasses, is grown. “[These rums] are for spirits connoisseurs searching for authenticity and transparency,” said Reynier in a statement. “And as the building blocks of our Renegade Rum, we have discovered they also make for intensely flavored, ultra high-provenance ingredients for the most discerning cocktail enthusiasts.”
“Intensely flavored” is putting it lightly. Robb Report got to sample the Single Farm Origin: Hope expression, which according to the brand comes from rich, alluvial soil and a humid microclimate (you can see Reynier’s wine background in action here). This rum was made from one of the oldest varieties of cane called Cain, which is grown in terroir known as Boulders. The rum is pungent, creamy and savory on the nose, with a mushroom and artichoke-like quality. This continues into the palate, with strong spice and citrus notes and a touch of coconut and vanilla. Although reminiscent of rhum agricole, overall this is an utterly singular spirit. Truth be told, it will not be for everyone, but Reynier and the Renegade team seem to be just fine with that.
There are three other Pre-Cask Collection rums from different farms, each distilled in pot stills and bottled at 50 percent ABV. Renegade strives for transparency in this spirits category that is not always known for that, as rum often has misleading age statements and opaque information about source and whether or not sugar and/or color is added. Each bottle will have a CaneCode to unlock all the information about how the rum is produced. There are also currently casks of rum aging which are available for purchase, which will be bottled for the US market in the fall. Renegade Rum Pre-Cask Collection is not very widely available yet, but you can go here to find out how to get a bottle to see what you think of this exceptionally strange but intriguing spirit.