By Sacha Delfosse
A premium award-winning white rum, inspired by the First Fleet's Joseph Banks and made from a blend of five quality rums will be launched in Australia tonight.
Banks 5 Island Rum is the brainchild of master blender and owner, Arnaud de Trabuc, and Jim Meehan from New York's famed speakeasy bar PDT.
The rum has now found its way to Australia through Meehan's friendship with Jason Chan, co-owner of The West Winds Gin.
"Jim and Jason have been friends for years, and when Jim was consulting on the rum we got talking and thought it would be good synergy working with another bartender-backed product," said Jeremy Spencer, co-owner The West Winds Gin.
Local distribution will be handled directly by The West Winds Gin team and the rum will be officially launched tonight at a tasting session hosted by de Trabuc at Melbourne's Golden Monkey bar.
"It will initially be available through the on-premise only with limited distribution to the right accounts – premium venues where people go to get premium spirits," Spencer said.
The Banks 5 Island blend uses pot-stilled and column-distilled rums from Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados, as well as arrack from Java, that all contribute different characteristics to the overall flavour profile.
"I think the blend is amazing, especially the use of arrack from Java, which is something I don't think has been done before and delivers a unique exotic aroma with a really long finish," Spencer said.
Since launching in 2010, Banks 5 Island Rum has racked up numerous accolades including Best White Rum at the 2010 Golden Rum Barrel awards, and Best New Product at the 2011 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
Spencer said that although it is an excellent rum to drink straight, it has also shown it can work well in cocktails, having been voted the best rum to use for a Daiquiri and a Mojito at the 2011 Ultimate Cocktail Challenge.
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