It only seems like yesterday that I was picking up a bottle of the first batch of Penny Blue rum from Berry Bros and Rudd in Piccadilly. And it appears that time certainly has flown as we were got our hands on a bottle from Batch 004.
Penny Blue is a small batch, single estate rum (sugar cane grown on site) from the Medine distillery in Mauritius. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they offer public tours as we certainly would have gone there when in Mauritius a few years ago. (Incidentally, we did visit the Chamarel and St Aubin distilleries, which you can read about here).
The distillery has teamed up with the aforementioned Berry Bros & Rudd to sample casks (tough job), blend the best tastes and produce these limited edition batches.
Now we all know we’re not supposed to judge a rum by its looks, but Penny Blue is rather attractive: a sturdy curved bottle, a cork stopper and a label containing the eponymous stamp and details on the tasting notes, casks type and distiller signatures.
The rum itself is non-chill filtered to keep in the tasty ‘impurities’ from the barrel-aging process and has no added sugar or colour. It’s a deep amber colour, which, again, is aesthetically pleasing against the colour of the label. There’s no age statements on any of the bottles, but there’s full descriptions of each batch on their website. Batch 004 is a blend of rums aged in whisky and bourbon barrels (at a ratio of two-thirds to one-third), the oldest of which is 11 years, and bottled at 43.3% ABV.
Onto the all-important opening of the bottle. On the nose it appears sweeter than Batch 001, with caramel, spice and a mild smell of dried fruits coming through for me. In tasting, it’s smooth on the palate and I got notes of caramel and pineapple. The aftertaste develops into an almost-bitter finish, but certainly not unpleasant.
There is a noticeable difference between the batches, which for me makes the proposition more collectable ;). Batch 001 is lighter in colour and aged in whisky and cognac barrels, for example. Its aromas are more citrus and vanilla and in the mouth, it hits you with a more powerful kick at first, which then mellows to a smooth aftertaste.
You can purchase the Penny Blue rums from Berry Bros and Rudd, for around £40, which we consider good value for a rum of this calibre.