And now Bruichladdich is applying its ACE program to, of all things, rum. I recently had my first taste of its Renegade Rum at Manhattan’s Elletaria restaurant, and the stuff is as aberrant as its whiskey. Reynier had the idea to produce the rum a few years back, when he noticed certain disheartening parallels between the rum and whiskey industries: Both are dominated by a few enormous companies with deep marketing pockets and a penchant for blending and consistency. Reynier picked out a few select barrels from the Caribbean’s oldest, family-owned distilleries (some now defunct) and shipped the rum back to Scotland, where McEwan ACE’d them in ex-d’Yquem and Latour barrels, among other things. I tasted all four of the mind-blowing, limited-edition rums in Renegade’s current rotation: an earthy 15-year-old Jamaican rum finished in ex-Latour barrels; a clean, fruity 10-year-old port-finished Panama Rum; and two rums from Guyana, one a robust 12-year-old ACE’d in d’Yquem oak and the other a lighter, fruitier 16-year-old enriched by Madeira casks.
The rums run from $80 to $110, which is pretty reasonable, given their cult status. Look for them online at K&L Wines, Morrell and Garnet.