Mauritian Rum is a new one on me. I have in the past tried Pink Pigeon Spiced Rum. Penny Blue hails from the same distillery as Pink Pigeon – The Medine Distillery. However, Penny Blue promises an altogether more sophisticated and grown up experience.
Regulars readers of the blog may be familiar with the press release I placed on the site a couple of weeks back. By way of thanks for promoting this venture (which is done in conjunction with the wonderfull Berry Bros and Rudd) I was sent a sample of the 4th batch of this Single Estate Mauritian Rum.
In all honesty I pride the site as much on the standard of photography as I do the standard of the writing. I like the consistency of the photography. Unfortunately, for the purpose of this review I have had to deviate slightly and use the stock photo I was sent with the original press release as the main photo.
I have of course took a photo of the sample bottle I received. For review purposes I can’t really comment on the presentation beyond what have I seen in photos. It looks pretty good. I like the stubby bottle and the wax seal on what I presume to be a cork enclosure. The Penny Blue branding etc looks all very slick. My sample bottle looks slightly less chic but never mind.
I don’t usually review samples sent to me. For starters I do not actively seek such things so very few have come my way. If like many of my contemporaries I was more vocal or was wanting to dip my toes in more commercial waters I’m sure I could receive a lot more freebies. I don’t feel the need to do this. Most important for me is to remain 100% independent. Whilst I will involve myself with rum companies etc I will certainly not entertain the idea of softball reviews to garner more and more free product. I can afford to buy my own rum.
Still I had done the company a favour in helping promote their most recent release and they had sent me a sample in return. Whether this was indeed for me to write a review or whether it was simply a thank you I don’t know. It may have been as simple as trying to encourage me to buy a bottle.
Regardless of motive I figured I may as well at least try the Penny Blue in review conditions. Treat it as if I was going to publish a review. I’m always slightly suspicious of rums with back stories to them. Penny Blue however has a relatively uncomplicated tale which explains why it is named as it is.
Prinited in Mauritius in 1847, the Penny Blue stamp immediately became a collectors item because of its inscription. A mistake by the engraver resulted in it reading “Post Office” rather then the usual “Post Paid”. There are believed to be only 12 such stamps still in existence. The Penny Blue stamp is as rare and highly collectible as this small batch rum.
A simple and believable story. The Medine Distillery has been producing rum from its own sugar cane plantation (all housed on a single site) since 1926. The partnership formed between them and Berry Bros and Rudd, who have bottled some amazing rums on their own label adds an extra layer of interest and credibility.
So far so good, this really doesn’t seem like one of those pop up “Premium Rums” that appear from far flung corners of the globe with incredulously spun tales of their rich heritage and history, despite being completely only five minutes old…
Another note in the press release states that Penny Blue is “small batch vatted, natural in colour and un-chill filtered”. They also add “no artificial sweetening is involved in the process”. Which is again, all good stuff for those who like pure unadulterated rum. A hydrometer test also reveals that Penny Blue has no detectible added sugar. Kudos to the Medine Distillery for this.
Penny Blue XO Batch 4 is available internationally except for the US from the 1st July 2015. A limited release of 10,000 bottles which should retail at around £40 in the UK. It is bottled at 43.3% ABV and retail bottles are 70cl/700ml. The oldest rum in this batch is 11 years old and the youngest is 4 years old. The rum is matured in Whisky and Bourbon casks and then vatted together to blend. The rum is produced on a continuous column still so it isn’t as small batch as pot still production.
Let’s put it to the test.
In the sample bottle I received, the rum is a light gold almost straw like colour. When poured into the glass it looks slightly darker and more brown from the side but again straw like from above.
The nose is quite striking. Although the press release does not state so I think this is a molasses based rum. Despite this the rum is very light and sweet. It reminds me very much of Barbancourt 5 Star. In many ways it has a lot in common with a light Bajan rum but the nose has an extra complexity and intensity. Citrus and a little orange peel as well as vanilla and a little white pepper.
Sipped, again the rum displays the almost cognac like silkiness of Barbancourt. It’s very citrusy and slightly dry, mouthwatering. It is smooth and has a lasting and refreshing finish. The oak ageing is very evident but the rum still remains very fresh and vibrant tasting. It is for me beautifully aged. Any more and it could have been in danger of being over oaked. The oak and spice combines wonderfully with the rich fruit notes and the zesty peel.
Despite only having a 50ml sample I was still able to sample the Penny Blue on two separate occasions. On both occasions I found myself enjoying this well balanced rum a great deal. This is very good stuff and I am very pleased I was given the opportunity to try this rum, as it is a rum I would have overlooked.
I will certainly be looking out for more rums from the Medine Distillery.