Pineapple rum: Stiggins’ Fancy Vs Tiki Lovers.

Flavoured rums on Proof? O.M.G.

Pineapple rum: Stiggins’ Fancy Vs Tiki Lovers.

Now while I’m not a great fan of flavoured rums in general (preferring my rum to be rum flavoured) there is a case to be made for pineapple rums which have a solid tradition behind them and have in recent years become a useful spanner in the craft cocktail toolbox. Plantation’s offering is pretty highly regarded but I have heard some mutter that Tiki Lovers is as good, if not better. Wishing to put such hearsay to rest our intrepid cocktail blogger ordered both and humbly presents his own opinions on the matter.

Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple.

Coming in the standard attractive Plantation bottle with wood/cork stopper and wrap-around label, Stiggins’ Fancy very much looks the part. The name is a homage to a certain Charles Dickens character who liked a drop of pineapple rum but that interests me far less than the actual contents of the bottle so let’s cut right to the chase. Plantation are excellent at providing detailed data on their products and a quick visit to their website reveals much. Plantation infuse their 3 Stars white rum with pineapple skins before re-distilling it in copper pot stills. Separately the flesh of the fruit is infused into Plantation Original Dark rum before the two are blended and bottled. I very much like the fact that specific, existing, and totally solid rums are used in the process as most flavoured rums are made with the cheapest crapola rum available. I do notice that Plantation are careful to avoid calling this product “rum” on the label so as to comply with EU law. Indeed 20g/litre of sugar is added to Stiggins’ Fancy which is right on that legal line. However that is waaaaaaaay less sugar than most flavoured rum products and I’m quite happy to consider this a rum. We are at 40% abv here and again that separates if from most other flavoured “rums” which fall well below that. Once decanted into a tasting glass* I am slightly surprised by a lack of pineapple on the nose. Yes, it is there, but only just. It smells good but just not heavily pineapply. When sipped it is much the same story: tasty, rummy, but more like rum with a hint of pineapple than the other way around. It’s not what I expected but is perfectly pleasant. In cocktails I feel that it gets a bit lost but it does make an excellent Rum Old Fashioned. A Daiquiri is also pretty good if you use it as the entire rum component but without prior knowledge I’d think I was drinking a decent Daiquiri rather than a pineapple one. While I should perhaps be pleased with its excellent rummy credentials I feel slightly let down and constantly asking myself, “Where’s the pineapple I ordered?”. It’s not a cheap rum at north of thirty euro per 700ml and I’m just not seeing enough value for money here. Falling well short of my expectations yet slightly redeemed by the tasty Old Fashioned I can only give Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy a – possibly controversial – grade of:



Tiki Lovers Pineapple.

Tiki Lovers is a sub-brand of German bitters makers The Bitter Truth and I was previously rather impressed by their Dark Rum so let’s see what they can do with their moderately priced (about €23 in my ‘hood) Pineapple rum. The bottle which is the same for all three of their products is decidedly meh. Plain, cheap screw cap and somewhat cheesy label it’s not visually impressive at all. What is impressive is that big 45% on the front. Whilst the weakest of the three Tiki Lovers rums(!) this still laughs in the face of all other flavoured rums before showing them the door and giving them a kick in the arse on the way out. The rear of the label tells us the base rum is sourced from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana so no complaints there. Indeed the Tiki Lovers website states, “The rum blend is composed of aged & unaged Jamaican pot-still rum from Hampden Estate and Worthy Park, 3-year-old Barbados Rum from Foursquare Distillery, aged in former Bourbon Whiskey barrels, and some young column still rums from both Trinidad and Guyana.**” Magnifico. What the site doesn’t tell us is how much sugar is added but I calculate it to be around 40g/litre – yes, twice that of Stiggins’ but still well short of the vast majority of other flavoured “rums” and in most cocktails you can just cut back on the sweet to keep it in balance***. To get around the EU sugar in rum naming restrictions Tiki Lover have cheekily called it “Finest Caribbean Dark Rum and natural Pineapple” capitalising all the nouns like good Germans. On the nose we get a solid pineapple aroma and once tasted more of the same. It has a nice roundness and smoothness for its strength that is no doubt helped by that added sugar. However I do find the pineapple flavour just about edging into the “artificial” zone perhaps due to the use of a “natural pineapple extract” rather than Plantations infusion route and this of course goes some way to explaining the price differential. But I’m nit-picking here. It makes great cocktails and has enough presence that even splitting it 50/50 with another rum such as Havana Club 3 Años**** in a Daiquiri you are still getting plenty of juicy pineapple flavour in there. This is some pretty good stuff for the very reasonable asking price and I feel like I’ll be keeping some in stock. Not perfect but worthy of a Proof:




While the whole point of a pineapple rum is to provide pineapple flavour without adding volume (otherwise we’d just use freshly squeezed pineapple juice, right?) I must conclude that Tiki Lovers does that better. On the other hand it could probably do that without so much added sugar. So neither of these rums are perfect and I feel have slightly different goals with Plantation working better neat or in spirit forward cocktails and Tiki Lovers being best suited for more complex Tiki cocktails (duh). The fact that I’m such an unrepentant Tiki-head should therefore be kept in mind in the above grades.

*Yeah, I broke one of my usual pair so apologies for the mismatch in the photo.

**I’ve a pretty good idea of who blended those components but have no such proof. Regular readers will know what I mean…

***It makes a cracking Daiquiri if your reduce the sugar syrup by a quarter of an ounce for example.

****Or whatever they are calling it these days*****.

*****They are calling it “Original” as a bit of a finger up to Bacardi’s dodgy delusions.

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