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Renegade Black Rock 2000 Rum

Review: Renegade Black Rock 2000 Rum    68.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted July 29, 2012

The Renegade Barbados Rum (Black Rock 2000) from the Renegade Rum Company was aged for 8 years in American Oak (bourbon) casks at the West Indies Rum Refinery (also known as Black Rock Distillery because of it’s location in Black Rock, St. Michael, Barbados). This distillery was established in 1893 by the German Stade Brothers who are known for introducing the first continuous column still to the Caribbean. The Barbados Renegade Rum was first distilled in a column still, and then double distilled in a pot still. It was then ‘enhanced’ for another period of time, at the Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland, in Martinez Port Casks. The Rum is bottled in the 700 ml squat decanter style bottle shown below at 46 percent alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle  (5/5)

I love the decanters Renegade Rum uses for their Rums. In my opinion, these are amongst the nicest rum bottles I have ever seen. I like the smoked glass with etched printing, the high quality corkage, and the overall decadent look implied. Heck, the look alone cause me to buy five of the Renegade Rums without even tasting them at $80.00 per bottle.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The rum displays itself in the glass as a very pale straw coloured spirit. This is very different form every other Bajan rum I have encountered to this point which usually display rich brownish amber tones. A quick tilt and swirl of my glass reveals only a light sheen on the side of the glass typical of column distilled rums.

The nose of the glass is very nice with a pronounced ‘fruity’ accent (baked apples, baked pears and gooseberry jam) which really smells nice against the backdrop of the butterscotch and vanilla notes from the rum. Deeper down I catch smells which remind me of tobacco and almond, and I even sense a little marmalade. At this point I am very enthusiastic about the rum in the glass.

In the Mouth 40/60

I wrote down all of the flavour sensations which I could glean from within the rum. When examined my tasting notes I saw that they contained descriptors such as gooseberry, charcoal, peat (?), and cigarette ash. These rather strange descriptors are juxtaposed against the more regular tastes of caramel, baking spices and tobacco. The ‘enhancement’ of this rum in Martinez Port Casks has resulted in a rather eclectic mix of taste and flavour sensations.

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!”

Upon sipping the rum in the manner in which the website indicated, my reaction to this ‘sipping’ rum was …. ouch!

Despite the wonderful nose, this rum does not carry much delight onto the palate. That gooseberry jam I noticed when I sniffed the glass has to a large extent demolished the overall flavour of the rum. This is more bitter than sweet, much more tart than smooth. I am left wondering what went wrong. The website says to mix only if you must…. I am wondering who tasted this particular rum before that statement was made?

At a fifty-fifty mixing ratio with cola and adding lots of ice, I actually made it though two tasting sessions. But despite my usual penchant for three to four tastings before I write my review, this time…. twice was enough.

In the Throat 9/15

The finish is full of charcoal and cigarette ash. Some nuances of butterscotch and fruity marmalade with gooseberry can be found, but at this point I am not really looking for nuances. I am just trying to make it through to the end of my tasting regimen.

The Afterburn 6/10

After I finished writing this review, some of my friends were curious about the rum, and tried it at one of my tastings. Of the three who tried it, two agreed with me completely and in fact one of my friends poured his sample over the side of my deck. However, one of my guests (Jeremiah) was actually delighted with the flavour, and asked if he could buy the rest of the bottle. I happily gave him the bottle and received a promise of reciprocation in the future.

It just goes to show that taste is a peculiar thing. One man’s pain is another man’s pleasure. I guess I am adding this note to the review just to lend a little balance and to point out that not everyone agrees with me nor should they. Taste is a personal thing, my reviews should guide you, but they should never lead you.

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


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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)



One Response to “Renegade Black Rock 2000 Rum”

  1. Jack said

    I’m a fan of rum from Barbados. Even if they all may not be equal, I would like to taste them all. Thanks for the thorough review.

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