Rum Connoisseur interview of the week: JEAN FRANCOIS KOENIG Master Distiller at Medine distillery, which produces Penny Blue and Pink Pigeon Rums.
Rum Connoisseur interview of the week:
JEAN FRANCOIS KOENIG
1) Who is Jean Francois Koenig
I started in production and product development and have been general manager since 1996.
2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplish for the rum industry.
Although rum was produced in Mauritius since the introduction of sugar cane in the middle of the 17th century, it was mainly consumed white and rum ageing had disappeared in the country.
When I joined Medine Distillery I believed that ageing was the route to create premium quality rums and in 1996 I started to age our rums in oak casks coming from a whisky distillery in Scotland. Working on a Single Estate distillery, we have control over every process, from selecting the sugar canes, distillation, aging and blending, which allows us to showcase our rum and terroir at its very best.
We started slowly, trying to find the best distillation and the best casks, and we are proud now to have crafted award winning rums with the Penny Blue family.
3) What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
We are involved in the whole process of rum production, from plantation of the sugarcanes to the bottling of hand selected fine matured rums. It is fascinating to participate in this long process, trying to achieve the best possible quality all the time. I always bring changes and innovations that will make a difference after maturation some 5 to 10 years later.
4) What is that thing that makes you want to continue working in the rum industry?
Continuous development of new products and new processes are very exciting and we have a lot of new ideas in mind.
5) Favourite Drink + Recipe
I enjoy an old fashioned with Penny Blue XO.
2 1/2 ounces of Penny Blue XO
1 raw sugar cube
3 dashes Bitters
Splash of club soda
6) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?
7) What things do you have in your bucket list for the next 12 month?
The next step for us is looking to release a Pure Cane Rum. Our idyllic location on the west coast of Mauritius nurtures our sugarcane to perfection, and the best way to show our terroir, is using the fresh pressed sugar cane juice to produce the rum. Penny Blue XO #005 is set to launch internationally, our latest release in our XO range. Constantly evolving, our premium aged rum blended from cognac, whisky and bourbon barrel casks.
8) Any last words?
Always enjoy a rum in good company!!