Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rum Via Cognac

I wrote this little item about the lovely Banks 5 Island Rum for Wine Enthusiast:
Banks 5 Island Rum
By Robert Simonson
Rums wear their places of origin like badges of honor. A Jamaican rum maker would bristle if his product were mistaken for one from Barbados, and vice versa. And the distillers of Martinique—producing several rums that boast a rare AOC designation—would raise a cri de coeur if their rums were lumped in with the rest of their Caribbean brethren. So Banks 5 Island Rum—a blend of white rums from a quintet of different nations: rinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Java and Guyana—is born of a new and unorthodox notion. The motivations behind its creation become clearer when one discovers that Arnaud de Trabuc is the brand’s master distiller. Formerly the president of Thomas Hine & Co., de Trabuc has a long history of working with Cognac, where blending is the name of the game. He considered rum’s prevailing commercial model—where islands work only with home-grown liquor—to be shortsighted. “I thought since we were going to do a new rum, we had to do something a little bit different,” said de Trabuc. He spent 18 months toying with the blend for Banks (which is named after explorer Sir Joseph Banks), finally settling on a cocktail of 21 diffrent rums anchored by a Trinidadian distillate. Not surprisingly, the result tates like nothing else in the rum world, viscous and pungent, with unexpected notes of green pepper, coconut and ripe tropical fruit. The only gripe with the result: 5 Island is a bit of a misnomer, since Guyana isn’t an island.

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