Banks 5 Rum Master BlenderMr. Arnaud de Trabuc, Master Blender of Banks 5 Island Rum
Q: How long have you been working for the rum industry? How did you get started?
A: I have been working in the Rum Industry since the end of 1990. I started to drink rum when I became acquainted with Members of the Bacardi family and I got started initially through Alleyne Arthur and Hunt , a Bajan company controlled by a Trinidad Group that I was associated with.
Q: Could you describe to our readers your everyday activities? In other words, how much time do you dedicate to quality control, product development, research, etc.?
A: Quality control is essentially left to our Quality control team. Researches and Product developments are an essential part of what I do and probably represents 30% of my time.
Q: Your Banks 5 Island rum consist of rums from 5 different islands and a combination of pot-still and column-still, what inspired you to produce such a rum?
A: I drew from my experience at Hine Cognac and Burn Stewart Distillers.
Q: Do you have any plans of developing new rum products?
A: I always look at developing new rum products along the lines of creating new and unique blends which is the mainstay of what Banks rums are all about.
Q: As a Master Blender, how easy/difficult is it for you to taste a young rum and anticipate the effects of aging on it? How much of that is within your control and how much depends on environmental/ cask conditions/etc. that are harder to predict?
A: It is not difficult for me to taste young rums. The effect on aging can be controlled, the quality of the casks, the storage conditions will have a definite effect as well as the type of wood that is being used and the climate in which the rum is being aged.
Q: In all of the years you have spent in the industry, what are some of the biggest changes (good or bad) that you have witnessed?
A: In all my years in the Industry, the changes have mostly been in packaging and marketing together of the development of new type of rums like spiced or flavored rums. Production has been made more efficient but has not truly changed. Overall, the changes in the Rum Industry have been for the better.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge/obstacle you have encountered thus far as a Master Blender?
A: The greatest challenge for me as a Master Blender is to select and blend rums from different ages and different origins to achieve the best possible blends.
Q: Have you perceived a change in how consumers think of rum since your involvement with the industry began?
A: The great attribute of rum is that it is highly mixable. Young consumers drink rum differently than my generation but I think that rum remains associated by everyone with sun, sailing, the ocean, holidays etc…..
Q: How about consumer palates? Have you had to adjust the flavor of your rums to keep up with changing patterns in the market, or has your target market remain unchanged over the years?
A: As I said earlier, Banks rums try to be unique. We cannot ignore the changing patterns in the market but we look for the points of difference between our rums and the competition i.e. I selected a Javanese rum to include in Banks 5 Island.
Q: Respect for tradition is something very common in the industry. How do you balance the love for tradition with the needs imposed by modern times (such as using younger rums or adding flavors)?
A: I do not see a problem in respecting traditions and blending rums to appeal to the consumer modern tastes. Adding flavors have opened a new segment for rum consumers all over.
Q: If I came to a party at your house and ask for a rum-based cocktail, what are you likely to offer me?
A: I would either offer you a Banks Negroni or a Five Island Flamingo.
Q: Is there a particular message or comment you would like to share with our readers?
A: I would always advise anyone interested in rum to have an open mind to taste new rums, and to experiment with cocktail recipes as much as possible.