There's any number of reasons for why today's consumers drink a different selection of spirits and cocktails. Tastes change. Ingredients can become scarce or prohibitively expensive. Companies go out of business. But sometimes time forgets a drink because it sucks.
For these reasons, there's often a degree of skepticism on my part when someone decides to “bring back” some long-forgotten style of wine, liqueur, or spirit that for decades was perfectly happy lying in a grave somewhere. “Pineapple Rum” comes to us from cocktail historian David Wondrich. Thanks to him and his partnership with the Plantation rum company, we now have the market's only example of pineapple rum. But thank god we do.
I should mention that this is not something even in the ballpark of Malibu coconut rum. I feared this would be an ultra-sugary liqueur, and like a lot of liqueurs, would have an artificial taste and a fairly anemic ABV. Nothing like that turned out to be the case.
The “Stiggin's Fancy” Pineapple rum is made with the rinds of Victoria pineapples, not the fruit, and it's bottled at the usual 40% ABV. It's a sippin' rum, plain and simple, made to be enjoyed on its own rather than used purely as a sweet mixer in a tiki drink. It has body, flavor, and character that are all just too damn good to cover up with a lot of simple syrup, juice, or other foofaraw. (Although if you were inclined, I bet it would make a killer Mai Tai.)
Pineapples are huge on the aroma, but they're even bigger in the glass. What I like most about the Stiggin's Fancy is that the pineapple here is naturally and authentically sweet. Even more impressive is that the pineapple is just the perfect amount of ripeness, flavor-wise: it's not bracingly tart, but also not cloying. It's rich, and a perfect compliment to a lot of the deep molasses, coconut, and brown sugar flavors present in the Plantation rum itself. Everything ends with a really nice finish: toffee with wood spice, and again with so much of that gorgeous fresh-cut pineapple that goes on and on.
Plantation makes a good rum as it is—even at the bottom of their product mix—and the pineapples in the Stiggin's elevate those tastes even higher. If you don't have much of a sweet tooth, it's very likely that you won't enjoy this as much as I do. For me, it's a rich and decadent glass of dessert rum that strangely enough never becomes too much even over the course of a very generous pour.
I'd say we can continue to do without things like Sherry Cobblers or Blue Blazers, but I'm glad that Wondrich brought back this style of rum. There might be only one of it right now, but talk about leading by example!