Project Description

THE WHISKY DRINKER’S RUM

Penny Blue’s award-winning rums are praised for their elegance and complexity. Released without dosage of sugar, the naturally drier finish of Penny Blue delivers a delicately complex character, and ensures perfect balance in this remarkable island rum.

THE NAME

The name Penny Blue is derived from a Mauritian legend, the Penny Blue stamp. Created as part of the inaugural postal service, in 1847, under the watchful eye of the Governor of Mauritius, the stamp was to be used for invitations to a fancy dress ball held by the Governor’s wife.

The engraver rushed to the Post Office to talk with the Postmaster. On arriving, he read the sign ‘Post Office’ and took it to be the correct inscription for the postal stamps.

It was only after printing that the engraver’s mistake was discovered. The inscription should have read ‘Post Paid’ as with UK stamps. With only 500 produced, its rarity has made it one of the most expensive stamps in the world.

Each Penny Blue stamp was hand printed, giving them a unique fingerprint, which is mirrored in their rum.

THE MEDINE DISTILLERY

Located in the west of Mauritius, between lush volcanic peaks and the turquoise seas of the Indian Ocean, the Medine Distillery has been producing rum since 1926.

THE MAURITIAN RUM HERITAGE

“Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” goes Mark Twain’s iconic quote.

1000 miles off the coast of Madagascar lies Mauritius, the tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean which has a history dating back to the late 17th century.

MEET THE RUM MAKER

Jean-Francois Koenig
Master Distiller, Medine Distillery, Mauritius

FERMENTATION

Freshly pressed sugar cane juice, or rich molasses, are combined with specially selected yeasts and fermented slowly to create flavour and alcohol for the distillation process.

DISTILLATION

To produce a more full-bodied style of rum that will improve with maturation, master distiller Jean-Francois relies on a slow distillation, at lower temperatures.

Distillation takes place in a continuous column still to create elegant rum for maturation in oak barrels. The skill of the Master Distiller shines through in this rum, with a very particular cut taken from the column still. On occasion, a combination of pot and column stills is used to blend rounded pure cane rum.

AGING

Once distilled in column or pot stills, the rum is matured in oak barrels. To add to the complexity of Penny Blue rum, Jean-Francois has experimented with a variety of wood types for resting the spirit.

He eventually settled on casks that once held cognac, whisky and bourbon to age the precious spirit. French oak casks previously used to age Cognac lend soft eucalyptus notes. Ex-bourbon casks of American oak, and ex-Scotch whisky casks, deliver soft vanilla flavours. The distillery also makes use of exquisite sherry casks, contributing richness and colour to the rum.

THE BIRTH OF THE RARE CASKS LABEL

The first of the Penny Blue rum expressions bottled for, and selected by, Navigate World Whisky was a marriage of two very special casks: sherry and cognac. While both of these casks were impressive in their own right, a blend of the two revealed them to be far greater than the sum of their parts.

Navigate World Whisky’s founder, Alex de Ujfalussy, together with Master Distiller Jean-Francois Koenig came up with the idea of a Rare Casks label to accommodate this unity. And so, a new series was born.