Review: Penny Blue VSOP

Penny Blue rum is a single estate rum (all the production happens on the estate) produced at Medine Distillery in Mauritius in collaboration with Berry Bros & Rudd, “Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant”. The distillery has been in continuous operation since 1926 making it the oldest working distillery in Mauritius.

Medine Distillery and Berry Bros & Rudd established together The Indian Ocean Company in 2009 with Medine Master Distiller Jean-Francois Koenig and Doug McIvor of BBR working together for the production and distribution of the Penny Blue rums.

Penny Blue is the name of a rare Mauritian stamp, with only 500 of them being made, where instead of ‘Post Paid’ they had ‘Post Office’ written on them due to a printing error – the said stamp is illustrated on all the PB labels.

Interesting enough, their first batch of Penny Blue XO, which is a more premium bottling (I reviewed Batch #5 here), was released in 2013 whereas the VSOP was launched in 2017.

Although the distillery does produce a cane juice rum, Penny Blue VSOP is molasses based and column distilled, then aged for a minimum of 4 years in Mauritius in 3 different casks before blending. The website gives us all the information for this, so the here’s the rum makeup:

  • 75% ex-Cognac cask aged
  • 15% ex-Bourbon cask aged
  • 10% ex-Whisky (Scotch) cask aged

Bottled at 40% ABV , without any sweeteners added – my hydrometer agrees.

On the nose feels quite fruity. Green grapes, juicy red apples, raspberries and pink grapefruit. There’s a matchstick sulphur aroma to it as well. Tobacco, floral honey with some cinnamon and Fanta Orange. Faint charred oak in the background. The fruitiness appeals to me so I’m going in.

On the palate the fruits continue to shine, that Cognac cask did its job. Apple pie, apricots, raspberry jam and hints of watermelon. A nice subtle cigar-like smoke is present intertwined throughout the tasting experience. Cinnamon makes a reappearance again along with the honey. Some caramel, vanilla and green chilies. Towards the end there’s like a damp cardboard aroma and it suddenly becomes vegetal and slightly bitter which doesn’t seem to play well with the rest of the profile, but it doesn’t bother me too much. Finish is short towards medium with some charred oak, canned peach and dash of saline.

Nothing too complex as expected, but a decent amount of body while remaining fairly elegant. It’s like a cross of Barbadian and Cuban rums and for £25 a bottle I wouldn’t shy from grabbing one and make some cocktails. I would recommend use this for drinks that ask for cognac – a good example is my Sidecar twist, the Pimento My Ride from The Cocktail Barrel section of my blog (lucky number 13). You can thank me later using the Contact feature.

Penny Blue VSOP score:
Flavour/taste: 46/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 76/100


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