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Learn the ins and outs of rum distilling and create your own personal blend.
Learn the ins and outs of rum distilling and create your own personal blend.

Blend your own Bundaberg Rum straight from the barrel

HE'S always been a rum drinker, but Bundaberg Rum Senior Brand Manager Duncan Littler has never had his very own blend complete with 'Duncan's Rum' emblazoned across the bottle, until now.

In an Australian first, Bundaberg Rum has launched a Blend Your Own Rum experience where you too can create your own personalised drop using the finest rums in the world - made right here in Queensland.

Like it light and fruity? Done. Rich and spicy? No worries. Or take a sample from all barrels like Duncan, whose personal favourite is a complex mixture of fruity, sweet, rich and floral.

Duncan said the new Blend Your Own Rum experience allowed people to come into the distillery, learn the art of blending by the experts and then pour their own concoction right from the barrels in the Blendatorium to "find the perfect rum blend for you".

And it all starts with the 10 blending commandments.

"In short, the first step is to think about where you want to get to before you get your hands dirty," he said.

"Then start to get to know the five liquids in front of you before you build a plan on how to get to your end product."

The five barrels each hold a different liquid, never been released to the public: premium rum aged in port, sherry, bourbon, scotch and heavy-charred American white oak barrels.

"They're all of different ages; some are older and bolder with the big Bundy Rum character, and some are lighter and more fruity," Duncan said.

"So it basically gives you a spice rack to play with."

As far as creating the perfect flavour, Duncan said there was no right or wrong way to blend.

"It's totally up to the individual and the flavours they like," he said.

Duncan Littler's favourite blend is a mix of fruity, rich, floral and sweet.
Duncan Littler's favourite blend is a mix of fruity, rich, floral and sweet. Max Fleet BUN220316RUM3

"We've had a few people do the experience and beforehand have said 'I'm not really a rum drinker', but that's because they may have this preconceived idea of what rum tastes like.

"So when they begin tasting it they say things like 'I thought all rum was bold and heavy, but I have tried a blend with some premium rum from the sherry barrel and it's nice and light, or from the bourbon barrel and it's got those sweet vanilla notes."

Those who take the Blend Your Own Rum experience will also get a tour of the distillery and Bundaberg Rum Museum. Plus, you'll get to take home two 700ml bottles of your very own blend, with a personalised label and all.

But that's not the best part. The distillery keeps all recipes on file so you can phone up any time and request a bottle or two of your own blend, of which will be made up and posted to you. Talk about a personal touch.

"We wanted to create something to make people feel special, as well as something to put on your bucket list," Duncan said.

"And Blend Your Own Rum is what we came up with."

The concept has been in the pipeline for three years and officially opens to the public on August 13.

The Blend Your Own Rum experience is part of the distillery's $8.5million upgrade for Bundaberg Rum's home which also includes a new Visitor Experience, museum, alfresco area and more.  



200ml from the port barrel: "This is a rum already quite bold; aged for over six years. This one has got a lot of body so it's a great base to build on with rich fruitcake flavours."

300m from the bourbon barrel: "This has a great sweet, vanilla flavour with a hint of spice. It's exceptionally smooth which is why I go with 300ml."

100ml from the sherry barrel: "This one has some floral aromas to it with dried fruit flavours, but very different to the port barrel. It adds a real complexity to the liquid."

100ml from the charred American oak barrel: "This is a 10-year-old rum, so it's already got plenty of character. It's very bold so you do need to be careful or it can overpower the delicate flavours of the lighter rums. But this adds that hint of Bundaberg Rum character."

While not in his personal recipe, Duncan said he wouldn't hesitate to add a dash from the scotch barrel if he was after a hint of smoke to the blend. "I really love this one, but I would probably only add about 50ml to my blend."



The experience includes entry to the new Visitor Experience, a guided Bundaberg Rum Distillery tour, rum tasting and a blending master class which includes one hour with two expert guides and two bottles of personalised rum to take home.

The unique experience runs Saturday and Sundays from 1.30-4.30pm, is available to a maximum of 16 adults a session and costs $250 a person. Weekday bookings can also be arranged for groups of 10 or more.

Head HERE to check it out. 

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