Enter your email address for articles, updates and to hear about new Renegade Rums
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
‘Precision’. ‘Purity’. These are fine words. But what do they actually mean? Since we apply them with some regularity to our rums — indeed we think of our newly-launched Études specifically as studies in precision — a few thoughts on what they mean to us.
First things first: they mean something very different to intensity. This isn’t to say that intensity of flavour isn’t an important aspect of appreciation — indeed it is something that the makers of many drinks look to instil in their products, from whisky distilleries malting their barley over an aromatic bed of peatsmoke, to molasses-based rums using dunder to impact their profile.
But as distillers of sugar cane juice, we are lucky enough to have intensity inherently baked into our produce. As anyone who has tasted sugar cane juice can attest, it is extraordinarily intense in its flavour and in its aromatic profile. Even in France, where rum lovers are accustomed to spirits based on pure cane juice, the intensity of our Renegade Rum perfume has been remarked upon. In the UK, where molasses-based rum has enjoyed historic primacy, we often lead tastings at which those present simply aren’t used to spirits with the intensity of pure sugar cane rum — and what a wonderful experience it always is to see people discovering something entirely new.
So intensity can be taken as read. But ‘precision’, ‘purity’, what do we mean by those?
Really it comes down to our ingredient, to the place in which that ingredient is grown and to the way that we feel we can best preserve the essence of their individual thumbprints of flavour. Like a Burgundian winemaker, we’re not solely interested in the characteristics of our ingredient, or even of the particular variety of ingredient — Pinot Noir or Chardonnay for the winemaker, Lacalome Red, Purple Tallboy, Clean Ester and others for us. No, we are specifically interested in the interaction of that ingredient with the specific patch of land on which that ingredient grows.
It is this, above all, that confers the unique snowflake-shape of our Single Terroir Rum’s flavour; were we to grow the same variety on another part of the island, or on another island of the Caribbean, even one close by, we could not possibly find quite the same inflections of character in our spirit. It is this which fascinates us most — this question of the flavours that can only be conjured through cane and field and the slow cycle of the seasons which bring them all into the harmony of an original expression. Grenada, with no long history of distilling pure sugar cane juice rum, offers the tantalising proposition of encountering an entirely new flavour with every field and harvest and distillation — an entirely blank canvas for the curious drinker. No wonder we’re excited.
This, to us, is precision of growing. Delineating our terroirs — finding the particular patches of land that inspire cane to grow and ripen in ever-different ways to the next patch of land along. Ways that can be as subtle as simply another field with imperceptibly-different aspect, or as extreme as the dizzying amphitheatre of New Bacolet, the wind-ravaged upper slopes of Lake Antoine or the vivid red patch of iron-rich laterite at the heart of Pearls. When one can literally see these differences with your own naked eye — and critically the different ways that cane behaves on each one — who wouldn’t want to know how their tastes varied accordingly? The work of defining Grenada’s terroirs, establishing how they impact flavour, and perhaps even uncovering the ultimate fields — our Grand Crus — is at the very start of its journey. We’re still learning; indeed many a meeting is dedicated to cheery discussion of ‘what actually counts as the limits of a terroir?’ But this is how we have come to establish our patterns of harvest and distillation. Single farms, divided into their individual terroirs, harvested and distilled one terroir at a time.
HARVESTING TERROIR BY TERROIR AT CONFERENCE BAY FARM
Our curiosity concerning these precise flavours of cane and terroir necessarily dictate our approach in the distillery. Which is where purity becomes of the utmost importance. Were we to add anything in the process or cross-pollinate the flavours of different farms or terroirs, agricultural precision would be rendered null and void. There would be no way of establishing that what was speaking in our finished spirit was the flavour of, say, the Mango Lane Terroir of Dunfermline farm, rather than the impact of whatever we had added or removed.
This is why we choose to distil cane juice, rather than molasses — the leftover product of sugar refinery. It is why we try to ensure that the cane we use is as clean as it can be and why we ferment in precise conditions in closed fermenters where the cane is protected from the impact of oxygen or ambient microflora and bacteria. Fermentation is where our terroir’s palette of flavours — flavours that will be selected and amplified by distillation — are fully unravelled. Cane juice is a fragile thing; any impact from external forces would alter its flavours and smudge that precision and purity. After all, distillation is a magnifying glass to flavour, not a destructive homogeniser of it. When it comes to precision and purity, fermentation is our most delicate tightrope.
It is also why we choose to take a very narrow spirit cut; eschewing thousands of litres of potential extra rum per year in the process, but enabling Head Distiller Devon to collect only the purest spirit of the distillation. Fussy, certainly, but an entirely necessary aspect of capturing the essence of ingredient and place.
A SAMPLE CUT OF RENEGADE CANE RUM
Precision and purity, then, are what enable us to create our library of Single Terroir rums. Our ultra-precise studies in cane and place, to be considered and enjoyed as such, in the form of Études or Pre-Cask, or to be added to the ever-growing library of maturing single terroir flavours as building blocks from which Devon will eventually craft our complex cuvées; the ultimate Renegade Rums.
We believe that rum’s potential horizons of profundity, complexity and sheer natural flavour are broader and more exciting than has ever been imagined. Far from a humble grass; a route to sugar production and molasses byproduct, we believe in the extraordinary potential of sugar cane to be the solo act ingredient in some of the world’s greatest spirits. We are endlessly fascinated by the different ways in which its flavour can be inflected even within such a tiny island as Grenada, and we are obsessed with capturing as many of those different flavours as we can. It is through precision and purity that we believe the most complex rums ever tasted will ultimately be unlocked.
Renegade Rum Distillery
Meadows Lane, Conference,
St. Andrews, Grenada, West Indies
JOB VACANCIES | PRIVACY | TERMS | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DESIGN BY TRUEOUTPUT:
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
This website uses Google Analytics and to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site, and the most popular pages.
Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!