Renaissance Distillery 2018 Single Rum Fino Cask – The Whisky Exchange Exclusive

Renaissance Distillery 2018 Single Rum Fino Cask - The Whisky Exchange Exclusive rum review by the fat rum pirateRenaissance Distillery 2018 Single Rum Fino Cask – The Whisky Exchange Exclusive. During lockdown and the various restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 – I have been working from home. As a result my 2 hourly daily rail and car commute has been cut to simply waddling down the stairs. Into the whirlwind madhouse that confronts any parent with small (and in my case slightly wild) children.

This has given me more time, some of which I have spent wisely. Some not so much. Most of my time has not really been my own.  I’ve increasingly found myself watching snippets of “Pointless”. This is a quiz show which you “win” by uncovering the most obscure but correct answers to questions. Indeed the ultimate is finding an answer no one else said.

I dare say that if you ask 100 people (as this show allegedly does or something along those lines) for the name of a Rum Producing country/nation – Taiwan wouldn’t be first on most peoples lists. So it would give you a pretty good chance of getting a “Pointless” answer.

Despite this fact, The Whisky Exchange have not been put off by the relative obscurity of Taiwan as a Rum Producing nation. Indeed they are charging £175 for a rum which is not even 3 years old, from a distillery, which so far has had more fanfare around it’s very detailed rear-labels than the actual liquid in the bottle.

This tale has played out a little on Social Media and on some of the Rum Forums.

Now I understand peoples concern about the price of this rum. However I always think that you should have tried something before you comment on its merits. Sure I can identify bottles which are vastly over-priced before tasting them. I know bottles which I will pretty much definitely not like from experience. Whose quality will not match the price tag. I’ve not got that kind of experience of Taiwanese rums. Nor do I think those commenting on Social Media have either. So until I’ve tried something from this distillery I’m not going to say whether I think it is over-priced.

Thing is this is a new distillery just starting out and ageing product. Based in Taiwan so its going to be expensive to get the product into Europe and the UK. Is it worth £175? Lets be honest is any bottle of booze truly worth £175? For that kind of money there are a quite a few bottles which I find personally more attractive then this. I could also spend £175 on some far more practical and sensible things as well.

That said I have a sample of this rum – so I’m going to give an honest review on its own merits.

Renaissance Distillery 2018 Single Rum Fino Cask - The Whisky Exchange Exclusive rum review by the fat rum pirateAs mentioned already the rear labels of these bottle is where the producer is imparting a lot of information on to the consumer. I don’t normally go in for “large” size images in the review. However in order to see everything on this label I felt it worthwhile!

It also saves me regurgitating the information on the label! Any further questions? No – Okay then lets get on with the nosing and tasting.

In the glass we have a dark/golden brown spirit. For its age it is quite dark. The nose is curious with a kind of bubblegum aroma to it which is quite sweet. I’m getting some Toffee and Banana alongside some more “menacing” notes of fermented Pineapple and some Mango.

Further nosing reveals a touch of Jamaican like funk and some more “Pot Still” heavy elements. These lurk just below the sweetness imparted by the Fino Sherry Cask. I’m getting a touch of apple and some cinnamon as well the more I nose. Theres an almost herbal kind of note going on as well which reminds of Mekhong funnily enough.

It’s not the nose I was quite expecting. It’s lighter and a lot sweeter than you might expect of a 100% Pot Still distilled rum.

Sipped it is much beefier and far more spicy than I was expecting from the nose. Talk about a wolf in sheeps clothing.

The initial sip at full 62% ABV is full more familiar Pot Still funkyness – lots of hot chilli spice, some burnt toffee and fudge. Lashings of sweet Banana and some Passion Fruit.

After a couple of sips things calm down and you can taste more of the rums complexity. The initial sip delivers an initial sweetness, followed very quickly by a zesty almost sour note which sends you taste buds down all different routes. It’s almost like and Sweet and Sour rum……….or maybe like a Hot and Sour soup?

It’s not really comparable to many other rums I can think of. The rum has got a sweetness which you might expect from the Spanish (dosed) Style of rum making, alongside all the blood and guts of a 100% Pot Still distillate.

The mid palate returns with a touch of the bubble gum and some Tarry notes. There is a fair amount of spicy heat – ginger, cinnamon and maybome Cardamon. It’s a very distinctive rum. Conflicted at times almost.

Finish wise it’s not the longest but it fades out nicely and at 62% ABV you do get a fair amount of kick on the pack of your palate. It’s quite herbal on the finish and a little strange.

There is a fair bit of complexity with this rum. Some elements really work for me. Others whilst, not unpleasant leave me a little puzzled. It’s almost like a “Pick n’ Mix” in a bottle. One that you didn’t get chance to pick….so not everything is your type of thing.

The overall profile seems a little uneven at times. I don’t know if it needed more time in the Fino Cask or if indeed I would have enjoyed it more minus the Fino Cask. Just aged in ex-bourbon.Renaissance Distillery 2018 Single Rum Fino Cask - The Whisky Exchange Exclusive rum review by the fat rum pirate

I’m rarely left pondering how exactly to mark a rum. I’m certainly left very curious about the distillery itself though and what it might be producing over the next few years.

Overall I’ve enjoyed  Renaissance Distillery 2018 Single Rum Fino Cask – The Whisky Exchange Exclusive. Yes it would be unfair to say I haven’t. It’s just been a bit of a shock to the system in that I found the profile unique. It’s left me intriqued and a little baffled. Whether this is the distillery signature style remains to be seen.

I’m certainly very curious to try more. Though at £175 a bottle – I’m hoping future releases are a bit more budget friendly.

I’ve a feeling this distillery is likely to become a bit of talking point over the next couple of years.






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