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ÉTUDE — STUDY
What is a study? Time and attention devoted to gaining in-depth knowledge of a subject. To plumbing its depths in search of truth and understanding. An investigation; a voyage of discovery for the curious.
Presuming one chooses to distil with pure sugar cane juice, there are the questions of where and how that sugar cane was grown. What its terroir was; how it was impacted by the three-dimensional effect of soil, land and microclimate. From the steep-sided, sun-baked amphitheatre of New Bacolet, to the fertile coastal plain of Pearls. So many factors which fundamentally shape the potential flavours one is able to capture.
Then there are the conditions in which one’s cane is processed. Its cleanliness when put through the mill, to begin with, before the all-important flavour determiner: fermentation. The control with which one allows the yeast to work upon available sugars, the temperature and angulation of the fermenters themselves. The length of fermentation and the decision of whether or not to keep fermenters closed, anaerobic and controlled, or to allow ambient yeast strains into the fermenting juice.
Then there is the distillation, where spirit weight and purity is fixed. Pot still or column? How fast to run one’s stills? How narrow a middle cut to take?
Finally, the oak casks — presuming one chooses to use them. French oak or American? Perhaps even rare Andean? Virgin or first fill? And how many times to use the cask afterwards? Not to mention the question of precisely where one’s rum is maturing — the hot, humid, Caribbean climate of Grenada, or the chillier air of somewhere across the ocean in Europe.
Endless variables — before we even reach the matter of bottling strength and whether or not to eschew artificial colourings, flavourings and other additives. Every one a crucial factor in the way one’s base ingredient — in our case, sugar cane — is allowed to express itself.
Each individual Étude is a spotlight on one single terroir. Even more precise than a single farm would be, for in the geological and geographical wonderland that is Grenada a single farm can offer a kaleidoscope of different aspects and soil types, each its own distinct terroir, each suited to a different variety of cane.
It is our mission to individually, terroir by terroir, harvest and unlock the purest flavours of every site on every farm. That is why we choose to eschew molasses in favour of fresh cane juice only, why we must be scrupulous in the cleanliness of our milling, and why we choose to ferment in the most controlled conditions — closed fermenters, positioned horizontally for a gentler and more even fermentation, precisely temperature-controlled at all times.
But our curiosity does not end in the cane field. Every terroir is distilled in two separate ways — part of it in a pot still with double retort, the Caribbean’s famous and historic ‘Adam Still’, the other part, unusually, batch-distilled in a specially-enhanced column still, drawn off at varying different strengths to allow our terroirs the greatest range of expressions. Always recognisably the same terroir but with varying weights of body and inflections of flavour according to its still.
Of course any good work in the cane field and distillery could easily be undone by filling spirit into poor quality casks, which is why our oak portfolio is our single greatest production expense. Every distillation is filled into the same profile of premium quality oak — first fill and Virgin American as well as Premium French oak from France’s elite cooperages.
Thus, maturing in the Caribbean climate of our warehouses, we can store a veritable library of spirit flavour — farms, varieties, terroirs and distillation methods. An unprecedented pantry of pure cane rum for our Head Distiller, Devon, to call upon.
Which brings us back to our Études. Our study in precision. Each made from a single variety of sugar cane grown on a single terroir of a single farm, distilled in one single manner before Caribbean maturation in oak casks. An invitation to compare and contrast; to study and discover the different flavours that each terroir can bring to a rum.
Indeed it is is our belief that pure cane, harvested field by field, terroir by terroir, then painstakingly fermented and distilled with the most modern, custom-designed equipment and the greatest of care, can produce a rum of the purity, singularity and profundity of the world’s greatest single malts. Perhaps — heretical though it might be to suggest — even more so. Why not?
The Études are the very building blocks of what will become the ultimate Renegade Rum. The component parts of future complex cuvées; each a compelling rum in its own right, a precise capturing of specific provenance. Yet capable, when brought together, of forming the most orchestral expression of Grenadian sugar cane rum flavours.
Études are for the curious drinker. For the drinker who is interested in where the flavour of rum comes from, and how it is unlocked on its journey through distillery and warehouse. The purest possible expression of each terroir, bottled after maturation. Rums to be contemplated. Rums to study.
Renegade Rum Distillery
Meadows Lane, Conference,
St. Andrews, Grenada, West Indies
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