From rum experiment to 'best new product'

The award winner Looking for a new and quality spirit? So were the judges in the just-completed "Tales of the Cocktail" event in New Orleans, and they declared Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum the “Best New Product” at the 2016 Spirited Awards that are part of the festival.

This is the second time a spirit from producer Maison Ferrand has won the award, the only company to do so. In 2012, its Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac was so honored, and in 2013, its Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao was a finalist for the same award.

“These spirits are my life,” says Alexandre Gabriel, owner and cellar master of Maison Ferrand. “Our intense focus is perhaps what sets Pierre Ferrand, Plantation, and Citadelle Gin apart from other spirits. ... Our mission is to amaze and bring pleasure through spirits of excellence and taste."

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy is a rum that resulted from research Gabriel and his small team undertook along with his friend and frequent collaborator David Wondrich. Their aim was to create a pineapple rum similar to the favorite drink of the Reverend Stiggins character in Charles Dickens’ "Pickwick Papers."

It originally was supposed to be a one-off product, but samples passed around at the 2014 "Tales of the Cocktail" event received strong positive reactions, so they went on to manufacture it as a portfolio line.

"We didn’t expect the overwhelming amount of praise from bartenders and aficionados who began to harass us to produce more," Gabriel said. "So, we decided to make another batch and share it with even more friends and the rest is history.”

Plantation Pineapple won “Best in Class” at the Miami Rum Festival 2015. It is made from Queen Victoria pineapples, which have a short season, thus making the rum available only as an annual limited edition item with delivery in April/May and July/August each year. It is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof), and carries a suggested retail price of $34.99 per 750ml bottle.

The Plantation Rum portfolio includes rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, St. Lucia, and Trinidad.

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