More rum but not from a distillery I’ve reviewed before. This is from Worthy Park, like Hampden, a Jamaican distillery. The distillery has a long history but not a continuous one. It stopped distilling in 1960 and only started up again in 2005 with brand new facilities (see here for more on the distillery). This means this particular rum was produced in the first year of the distillery’s revival. It was bottled 11 years later by Cadenhead in Scotland. I’m not sure when Scottish and other European bottlers began to carry rum in a big way but I can only imagine that this has been a boon for the revitalized distilleries of the Caribbean. Now if only more of these rums would be available in the US. I purchased a 200 ml bottle from Cadenhead’s Edinburgh store last June and have been looking forward to tasting it. My only other exposure to Jamaican rum has been through a few wild releases of Hampden and I am curious to see how much of that character is shared by Worthy Park.
Worthy Park 11, 2005 (57.9%; Cadenhead; single barrel; from my own bottle)
Nose: Starts out with familiar rum aromas as I pour but by the time I raise the glass to my nose the funk is to the fore. Don’t get me wrong: there is none of the over-the-top insanity of the Hampdens I’ve tasted but the funk is here for sure. If in the Hampden it’s dialed up to 11, it’s at about a 6 here. That is to say there’s aniseed and engine oil (but more like walking into a room with a mechanic’s rag in it), a bit of ripe banana and the rotting garbage heap in the sun that you’re right next to with Hampden is a block or two away. With more time notes of caramel and toffee take over. A drop of water brings out the aniseed again.
Palate: Ah, this is lovely: a balanced mix of sweeter sugarcane-driven notes and the funkier stuff. On the second sip there’s some pepper and more sweetness. Very drinkable at full strength. With more time it gets more acidic (lime) and the funk expands. Okay, let’s see what water does. It pulls out more of the lime and there’s a distinct ashy note too now; some of that aniseed from the nose is here too now.
Finish: Long. Gets sweeter and then the herbal notes intensify; quite salty at the end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Really very good. If the Hampdens I’ve had are like super-peated Islays this is like a more restrained Caol Ila. The Hampdens are more idiosyncratic for sure but had I a full bottle of this one, it’s what I would reach for far more often. And this is very much a whisky drinker’s rum; bourbon fans in particular would enjoy this, I think. Alas, I only have 150 ml left. More happily I do have two full bottles of other rums from Worthy Park. Look for reviews of those in a few months.
Rating: 90 points.