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Renegade Rum Company 2000 Jamaica Rum

Review: Renegade 2000 Jamaica Rum from the Hampton Distillery    72.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 15, 2010

The 2000 Jamaica Rum from the Renegade Rum Company was aged for 8 years in American Oak Bourbon casks at the Hampden Distillery in Jamaica.  It was then ‘enhanced’ for another period of time, at the Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland, in French Oak Chateau Climens Casks.  I really looked forward to sampling this rum as Renegade Rum Company’s Panama 1997 is one of my favorite rums.

In the Bottle  (5.0/5)

I’ll say right off that I love the decanters Renegade uses for their Rums. In my opinion, the nicest I have ever seen.  I like the smoked glass with etched printing,  the high quality corkage, and the overall decadent look implied.

In the Glass  (8.5/10)

I’m taking the cork off now. A puff of smoke, very light just escaped from the bottle. Nice! The smell of the cork reminds me of a product from  Kittling Ridge Estates, their Canadian  Icewine & Brandy. This is very different from what I was expecting.

The bottle seems to have a hundred aromas trying to get out at once. Green apples, grapes, vanilla, and even hints of mild licorice in the air.  It is as if an entire jungle of smells were trapped in the bottle just waiting to escape.  This ‘jungle’  fills the entire room.  As things settle, major  aromas  separate, those of a sweet green grape ice wine and a mildly woody brandy. I also get wiffs of a bourbon sweetness and of a caramelized rum in smaller degrees.  Altogether the nose is very unexpected, and to be honest it keeps changing.   This is the largest and most complex nose I have ever experienced in a rum

Pouring into the glass, I notice as it pours, that the ice wine aroma is really taking over. It is almost as if I was inhaling the aroma from a freshly opened bottle of ice wine.  I cannot decide if I like this or not as I consider the rum notes to be very weak.

In the Mouth  (42/60)

The taste of the Hampton Jamaica rum is an odd mixture of ice wine,  brandy, and bourbon. In that order of dominance;  with just the faintest rum flavour. I get that rum flavour only if I let the drink sit in my mouth. If I was to break it out in order of dominance I would say we get 40% Icewine, 30% Brandy, 15% bourbon 5% Rum and 10 % of subtle flavours I can only describe as sour fruit (green apple?) and candy.

I do not like the lack of balance in the flavour profile.  Rather than the Chateau Climens Cask enhancing the taste, it overwhelms the taste. In fact the rum flavour is pushed so far backward that we are left with a hodgepodge of  flavours competing for attention with no harmony or elegance. I want a more dominating rum with the wine, brandy and bourbon helping the rum achieve greatness instead of  acting as usurpers.

In the Throat  (11/15)

The finish is slightly oily leaving mostly  ice wine and sour fruit flavours in my throat.  The burn is pleasing but the eddy of aftertastes on my palate is exhausting.  A cacophony of flavours  is left behind, with everything  competing for attention.

The Afterburn  (6/10)

This rum has left my palate dazed confused.  I found this quote on the Bruichladdich website which pertains to all of their aritsan rums,

“We expect these to be savoured on their own, with a dash of water as an aperitif, or even as a lighter digestif, or enjoy with a cigar. Mix them only if you must!”

I guess I fall into the category of those who ‘must’.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

When I am confronted with a rum which doesn’t initially please me,  I try to find a cocktail,  or a way to mix the rum.  But in this case, the dominant flavour of grapey ice-wine did not lend itself easily to mixing.

I did however after much effort come up with what I affectionately call,  “A Sloe walk in the Jungle”.  The name I came up for the cocktail is an effort to highlight the ‘jungle’ like character of the nose which I referred to in the review.

A Sloe Walk in the Jungle  (Original Version)

1 1/2 oz  Renegade 2000 Jamaica Rum
1/2 oz    Triple Sec
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 oz Orange  Juice
1/2 oz    Lime Juice

Build on 4 large Ice Cubes
Float 1/4 – 1/2 oz of Sloe gin

Garnish an orange slice, a Lime slice and a slice of pineapple.

Pin them with an Umbrella

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My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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