Bundaberg, TMD Gold, Beenleigh & Stone Pine Barrique Rum Tasting at Imperial Hotel

Mention rum and you’re likely to think of the spirit from the Caribbean and Latin America mixed in a cocktail or sipped neat. Mention Australian rum and your recollection of early experiences with “Bundy and Coke” is likely to make you shudder and not take the spirit seriously.

Yet Australia has a rich history when it comes to the dark spirit.

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Australian Rums

The Sydney Rum Club set to change perceptions by holding the first ever Australian rum tasting at the newly refurbished Imperial Hotel in Paddington. Club members had the opportunity to meet some of the local rum producers and ambassadors and taste some rums that are not usually well known.

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Imperial Hotel, Paddington

“Australians have a full character, and so are their rums”, Tom Bulmer, President of the Sydney Rum Club said after describing Australian rums as dark, full-bodied and rich in flavour. He gave a brief history of rum in Australia including the circumstances that led to the Rum Rebellion between John Macarthur and William Bligh of the mutiny fame.

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Blake Head, Bundaberg Rum Brand Ambassador

Blake Head, Brand Ambassador for Bundaberg Rum gave a brief introduction to the history of the most iconic rum brand in Australia that was established in 1888.  With Bundaberg outselling vodka in Queensland, there is an element of national pride in Australia’s dark spirit.

The first rum on taste was Bundaberg Red, a smoother style of rum filtered using Australian Red Gum. The rum goes through a double distillation and ageing process and three separate filtration processes (chill filtration, carbon filtration and Red Gum filtration) which caramelises the sugar and results in a very smooth flavour profile.

On the nose, there is a lot of vanilla and even a little menthol while on the palate, it is heavy on caramelisation. Bundaberg Red is a good entry level dark and is great for mixing in drinks and cocktails.

Bundaberg Golden Reserve Master Distiller’s Collection is a blend of 5 different rums, three white rums and two red, the youngest is a 6 year old port barrel finished rum and the oldest is an 11 year old dark rum finished in a sherry barrel. Incredibly smooth and complex, this is a sipping style from Bundy to be savoured.

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George Goto, TMD

From Tamborine Mountain Distillery in Queensland comes TMD Gold Rum, thecompany’sfirst foray into rum production. It’s a three year old molasses-based rum, a product which is relatively new to the marketplace. Lighter on the palate than expected for its age, it has some herbaceous notes, a little oak and delivers a kick on the finish.

Tamborine Mountain Distillery are renowned for their liqueurs, eaux de vie and native based vodkas.

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Tom Bulmer (Rum Club) with Beenleigh Rum

Beenleigh are based in Queensland and they produce Beenleigh Rum which is a dark brown rum distilled from fermented molasses. The high ester style rum has strong vanilla and cocoa notes.

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Ian Glen (Stone Pine) Tom Bulmer (Rum Club)

Produced in Bathurst in NSW, Ian Glen introduced Stone Pine Barrique Rum, a limited production cask aged dark rum made from blackstrap molasses. The rum is matured in 225L ex-American oak casks which give a lot of contact with the oak which inturn has a massive influence on its character. The casks are heavily toasted which enhances the woody character and imparts a smoky finish to the rum.

Stone Pine Barrique Rum has a complex mouthfeel with vanilla, coconut, burnt caramel and oak on the palate.

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Bundaberg Royal Liqueur

The Rum Club meeting ended with a special tasting of the rare Bundaberg Royal Liqueur (20% ABV), a rich and decadent rum with coffee and chocolate flavours that rival those of Kahlua or Tia Maria.

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L-R: Ian Glen (Stone Pine) Tom Bulmer (Rum Club), George Goto (TMD), Blake Head (Bundaberg)

The evening highlighted the various styles and flavour profiles that can be found in Australian rums. From new and smaller producers to the more established, the history of Australian rum continues…

The Sydney Rum Club holds regular tastings at various venues around Sydney such as the Ron de Jeremy rum tasting at Assembly Bar earlier in the year. The Australian rum tasting was held on Monday 28 May 2012.

More photographs of the event on the Gourmantic Facebook page.

The Imperial Hotel Paddington
252 Oxford Street
Paddington NSW 2021

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.