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Rum Reviews

Renegade Etudes New Bacolet, 55% ABV


Renegade is a burgeoning rum distillery from Grenada that is pretty much exerting all its weight into breaking into the rum community's consciousness and hopefully become the next big thing. While it's not quite there yet (as of 2024), it's certainly providing all the dry wood possible for a bonfire to happen - everything a rum geek could want is woven into Renegade's DNA. Will it work? I haven't a clue. But let's remember, the distillery isn't even 3 years old yet!

The Grenadian distillery established in just 2022 by Mark Reynier, an incredibly prolific personality in the spirits scene, is all about bringing to rum this new wave of transparency that's become increasingly appreciated and even more importantly, prized. Renegade was set up with the foundational ethos of allowing fans to explore the terroir of Grenada, through single farm, single estate, single varietal expressions. You could literally put a range of Renegade expressions side by side and taste your way through the Grenadian terroir.


Mark Reynier.


And while it is certainly a pretty revolutionary basis of establishing a rum distillery - it's not a playbook unfamiliar to Reynier, whose done similar things with Bruichladdich before, and now Waterford in Ireland. A little lesser known factoid about Reynier is that before Bruichladdich, he was involved with founding independent bottler Murray McDavid. You've got Reynier's early start in the wine trade to thank for all of this - one can only speculate if Cognac or Mezcal is next, maybe even Sake.

So back to Renegade - whilst Reynier was still involved with Murray McDavid, what started out as a focus on whiskies, eventually turned into an ever growing involvement with rum. This was less to do with how popular rums are today, and more to do with quite the opposite - whiskies were beginning to become very popular, which made sourcing quality casks at reasonable prices incredibly difficult. Hence for their rums, Murray McDavid would house them under the Renegade brand, where they would play around with different finishings to give their own spin on things.

When Murray McDavid was acquired by Remy Cointreau, Reynier had negotiated to keep the Renegade name.


Renegade. (Image Source: Velier)


Years later, and we're talking post-Bruichladdich, a chance holiday in Grenada made Reynier fall in love with the island. He thus decided it was time to revive the Renegade name and build his own distillery on the Caribbean island.

It wasn't long before the first drops from Renegade begin to show up in the form of what Reynier termed Pre-Casks, which referred to white unaged rums, each marked by the farm, the field, cane varietal and whether it was distilled using a pot or a column still. 

Just over a year on, and we've got the first aged bottlings from Renegade - this time ETUDES, which translate as Studies - you get the sense that it's all very intellectually rigorous in its design.


New Bacolet. (Image Source: CaneCo)


And so what else is there to do but tuck our noses and palates down and get to studying! We're going to be trying Renegade's Etudes New Bacolet, pot still-distilled in the 2020 harvest, and according to Renegade,

"A south-facing, steep-sided, sun-baked bowl, the amphitheatre of New Bacolet is planted with drought-tolerant cane on the weathered upper slopes, whilst lush growth enjoys the deeper, rich colluvial soils below: a textbook exploration of terroir & more rugged than nearby Old Bacolet. For this rum we harvested the sucrose-rich variety we call Lacalome Red from the “Goat Hill” field, which stands on the terroir known as Upper Combe."

Let's get to it! Onward! 

Renegade Etudes New Bacolet, 55% ABV - Review


Tasting Notes

Color: Gold 

Aroma: Super concentrated vegetal cane notes, pandan concentrate, backed up by honey and grassy herbal jelly. It’s a little high toned and fume-y. It’s a combination of fresh vegetal cane notes and herbal grass jelly with honey.

Tasting: Super punchy, alittle bit more of that diesel. Lots of honey, herbal jelly, it’s actually rather tarry with a good slap of salinity and petrol. Light bitterness.

Finish: More honey and herbal jelly, but still with all that punchiness, super intense with this huge warmth.


My Thoughts

This is like rhum agricole on steroids. It’s incredibly intense with big, darker, dirtier notes, somehow reminding me of Caroni. I found into be very interesting in that sense. Aside from that, I’ve got to say I really liked that combination of heavy tarry notes contrasted with the brighter, more lifted honey and herbal jelly notes. It’s like Caroni and a rhum agricole had a child. 

The intensity is definitely something. But as they say, there are no strong Renegades, just weak (people).


My Rating: 7.5/10


Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.