Banks 5 Island Rum (43%, 86 proof, $29) is a blend of rums from five rum producing islands: Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, and Java. Much like a great blended scotch or cognac, Banks Rum brings together a symphony of diverse flavors into a cohesive and balanced spirit whose sum is just as strong as its greatest parts. The nose on Banks 5 Island Rum is heavily influenced by the Jamaican rum. Banks uses a pot distilled black strap Jamaican rum made from molasses, which gives a toasted, funky, vegetal note to the nose that is distinctly Jamaican. What’s nice about the influence of the Jamaican rum is that it isn’t overpowering. You get the aromas but they aren’t impermeable. Underneath those funky Jamaican notes are the more tropical notes from the Guyana Rum combined with the citrus notes from Barbados Rum. The Batavia Arack finishes it all up from Java with a fantastic spice. All these notes are clearly and distinctly there in the nose, something that’s simply outstanding.
The entry of Banks 5 Island Rum is a true symphony. All the aromas from the nose are present in the taste. The opening features toasted molasses with a nice vegetal funk, which quickly gives way to nice tropical banana combined with a light lime zest. In the midpalate we pick up a great black pepper spice with the slightest amount of heat that carries through a nice dry finish that sees a return of the toasted molasses notes.