A Worthy afternoon
Updated: Jun 29, 2021
Worthy Park is a hidden gem, both in a physical sense and in terms of it's rums.
Nestled in the heart of beautiful Lluidas Vale it is one of the oldest operating distilleries in the world. Amazingly, it has been managed by only 3 families over the course of its epic 340 year history.
Worthy Park offers a true cane to glass experience growing its own cane in the fields around the distillery and then fermenting, pot distilling and aging the rum on site. Worth noting that this is a molasses based rum using molasses produced from the refining & manufacture of Worthy Park's other product... Worthy Park sugar (one day I will try this in my morning coffee! )
As is typical in Jamaica they produce big flavoured, funky rums that are a result of slow fermentation and the use of a copper pot still.
In 2005 Worthy Park began ageing some of their own stocks rather than selling on to independent bottlers. This is a really big and exciting step and I'm super happy to be including their 12 year in this lineup.
So, in this tasting I have some of Worthy Park's own brand estate-bottled rums, along with some 'dependant' bottlings from Habitation Velier (also aged at the distillery but selected by Luca Gargano of Velier), a bottling from Scotland's Thompson Bros that spent 9 years in barrel in Jamaica followed by 3 years barrel ageing in Scotland, and finally a bottling from Danish bottler SBS that was aged for 7 years tropically (Jamaica) and then a further 7 years continentally.
They're all delicious, no doubt about that. The theme across them all is banana first, with some coconut & pineapple all sitting on a thick bed of treacly molasses and caramel. Deeeliscious. This is a real pleasure and a tasting I will enjoy over several hours as the rums open up and evolve in the glass.
WPE (the highest 'mark' Worthy Park produce with extra long 2-3 week fermentaion - meaning that it is easily the funkiest of the lineup). With only 2 years of aging, and those very high ester levels, this is understandably sharper, funkier and fruitier. It's less of a smooth sipper than the rest but quite an experience and I'm glad I have it in the lineup. Be very keen to try that with another 10 years under its belt. Just now, for me, it's a slightly more restrained and refined version of their unaged wpe. (67%, EUR69, just 200 bottles made, 81pts)
The Thompson Bros is the bargain of the lineup. It's marginally sharper and 'hotter' than the rest, but, at £65, it's incredible value. It's quite similar to the 2006 estate bottled12yr although the 12yr is more refined and classy tasting. (58%, £65, 258 bottles, 86pts)
The two Habitation Velier bottlings are fatter and oilier. Richer & deeper tasting. Definitely a step up from all the others. These are up there with some of the best rums I've ever tried. WPM wins by a 👃 from the WPL. Both are massive rums. Really stunning. Moorish. Nutty. Bananas. Absolutely delicious. (HV 2007 WPL - 59%, £100, 91pts. HV 2006 WPM - 57.5%, £115, 92pts)
For completeness... The SBS 2005 and estate-bottled 2006 12yr are a close for 3rd/4th place. Very slightly different rums. Both bloody delicious in their own right. I'd happily spend an evening with either. (2006 - 56%, £115, 90pts. SBS 2005, 58.6%, £100, 227 btls, 89+pts)
There was only one winner today. And it was me 😊
PS: These are the very biggest and best that Worthy Park park. If you're interested in a more gentle introduction, their 6yr aged Single Estate Reserve is a fantastic rum (45%, £50, 84+pts)