Penny Blue XO Showcases The Depth And Complexity of Aged Mauritian Rum
The Island of Mauritius
The island of Mauritius is located 500 miles from Madagascar and 1,200 miles from the southeast coast of the African continent. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, this island is home to white sandy beaches, lush towering mountains and the world's third-largest coral reef. With its year-round tropical climate and rich volcanic soil, the island is perfect for farming sugarcane. Sugarcane was introduced to the island when the Dutch colonized it in 1638, and the crop has thrived throughout the centuries. Today, sugarcane is the number one export crop on Mauritius and consists of 80% of the island's agricultural output.
The sugarcane season runs from July through November. Historically, the cane was grown to produce table sugar. The byproduct of sugar production, molasses, was then used for the distillation of rum.
The Rum History of Mauritius
White rums have been produced on Mauritius for hundreds of years, and it is believed that rum was being produced in the Indian Ocean well before sugarcane was taken to the Caribbean. The exceptional terroir in Mauritius tends to produce a dryer, less syrupy rum than most Caribbean rums. It was only recently that Mauritius saw the emergence of local agricole rums as well as world-class matured rums, and it is now one of the only countries in the world that produces both traditional rum and rhum agricole. Traditionally, the white rum produced on Mauritius was consumed shortly after distillation, and infused with fresh fruit and island spices. Residents of the island have their own favorite fruit and spice infusions, with vanilla from nearby Madagascar, being of particular importance.
Today, the island of Mauritius has six rum distilleries. The Medine Distillery is the oldest of these distilleries, and is located on the western side of the island in the heart of the Medine sugarcane estate. Founded in 1926, the distillery uses a continuous still to produce a light, smooth rum with great depth and complexity. In 2010, the Medine Estate partnered with Berry Brothers & Rudd to form the Indian Ocean Rum Company. From this partnership, two new Mauritian rums were created: Pink Pigeon Rum in 2011, and Penny Blue XO Rum in 2013.
The pink pigeon is one of the rarest birds in the world and flies free in the skies of Mauritius, in addition to serving as the namesake for The Pink Pigeon Original Rum. Uniquely, the single-estate rum is infused with hand-pollinated and hand-picked natural Bourbon vanilla from orchids that grow wild in the rainforest canopy of nearby Réunion and Madagascar. The vanilla gives the rum its rich and creamy texture with notes of tropical fruits and sweet spices. Orange peel is added for freshness and zing along with orchid petals from Réunion Island that release delightful honey notes with hints of white flower and gentian. This balanced complexity, combined with exotic, tropical flavors of spice and nutmeg, make The Pink Pigeon Original as exquisite and rare as the pink pigeon itself. 40% ABV
Penny Blue is a single-estate, small-batch, hand-crafted Mauritian rum that has been aged in a combination of ex-cognac, ex-bourbon and whisky casks at the Medine Estate. Each limited-edition batch is hand-selected by two master blenders: Jean Francois Koenig from Medine and Doug McIvor from Berry Bros & Rudd. The rum is bottled at the estate upon reaching maturity. Every batch is unique, although there is continuity in overall style to retain the rich, smooth and fruity complexity that makes this single-estate rum a real expression of its Mauritian terroir. It is natural in color and non chill-filtered in order to preserve the complexity of the spirit.
Blended from 14 individual casks aged an average of seven years, this batch delivers aromas of citrus and orange blossom entwined with rich notes of espresso, clove and honey. Look for hints of tropical fruits and nuts with touches of vanilla and a smooth, long finish. 44% ABV
- Gold Medal - The Rum Masters
Twenty-two individual casks aged an average of eight years make up 90% of this rum, with the remaining 10% being Penny Blue XO Batch #001, which was held back to be added to Batch #002 for a continuity of style. This batch delivers tropical fruits with hints of eucalyptus, orange marmalade and rich oriental spices. 44% ABV
- 92 Points, Excellent, Highly Recommended - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2015
- Gold Medal - World Rum Awards, 2015