Maison Ferrand proprietor and rum master blender Alexandre Gabriel have created Plantation Pineapple Rum in collaboration with spirits historian David Wondrich
In 19th century England, pineapple rum was a sipping spirit par excellence, referred to in Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers as the favoured drink of the Rev. Stiggins. However, it eventually fell out of use. Now Alexandre Gabriel, proprietor of Maison Ferrand and rum master blender, and spirits and cocktail historian David Wondrich, have revived this forgotten nectar and have produced Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum.
Plantation Pinapple Rum first appeared in the US at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2014. It was meant to be a ‘one-and-done’ project just for Tales and with a few extra bottles produced for very limited distribution in New Orleans and a few additional states. This first batch sold out immediately and the reaction from bartenders and consumers alike was so overwhelming positive that Gabriel decided to make his pineapple rum a new addition to the Plantation portfolio. Due to the seasonality of the special Queen Victoria pineapples used, Plantation Pineapple Rum will be available as an annual limited edition item with delivery in April/May and July/August each year.
Gabriel and Wondrich relied on several ancient recipes to recreate it, and added a few traditional techniques from their own bag of tricks. The 1824 English Journal of Patent and Inventions and the 1844 Journal of Agricultural Society were their main sources of inspiration—along, of course, with Dickens. To produce Stiggins’ Fancy, Gabriel tried hundreds of different pineapples and found that Queen Victoria pineapples from Reunion Island were the perfect specimens for this rum. For each batch of Plantation Pineapple, more than one ton of Queen Victoria pineapples are peeled by hand at the Ferrand estate.
The rinds (where the pineapple’s essential oil chiefly resides) of ripe Queen Victoria pineapples are infused with Plantation 3 Stars white rum for one week and then distilled in pot stills. Separately, the flesh of the Queen Victoria pineapples are infused with aged Plantation Original Dark Rum for 3 months. Then these two liquids are married together and the rum is put into casks where it rests for three months.
Alexandre Gabriel says: “David and I did this project in part out of sheer curiosity. Mostly, however, we did it because the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality. The 1824 Journal of Patent Inventions notes that it was customary in the West Indies to offer pineapple rum to visiting European friends. Following the West Indian tradition, Plantation Pineapple Rum is our gift to you.”
Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum is available now, rolling out with a RRP of US$34.99/750ml.
Plantation Pineapple Rum is the third spirited collaboration between Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich. Their first collaboration is Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac, a Cognac made for cocktails and the winner of the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best New Product. Their second collaboration is Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao launched in 2012.
Maison Ferrand has offices and production premises at Château de Bonbonnet in Ars, France and its brands are distributed in more than 40 countries. The award-winning Plantation Rum portfolio is available in fine restaurants, bars, lounges and liquor stores. www.plantationrum.com.
The video (below) featuring Gabriel and Wondrich reveals the work that goes into making this rum
24 August 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor