A Jamaican Rum Journey - Three Worthy Parks
Worthy Park is a Jamaican distillery and sugar producer that seems to be gaining more and more momentum. Over the past years we’ve seen a lot of independent bottlers bring Worthy Park rum to the market. Next to that, Worthy park have bottled a lot of aged and unaged rums under their own brands. They are also continuously collaborating with Velier and there are tons of good reviews about them.
Makes sense to me. What’s not to like?! Traditional Jamaican distillery; Pot still distillation only; High level of transparency; Zan Kong representing them, a great guy to deal with.
I’ve always liked their products, actually there is only one that jumps to mind that I didn’t like much, Rum Bar Gold. Everything else I’ve tried has always been a good to great experience. In my mind, the best experience I’ve had was with the Velier Forsyths 2006 WPM. At least, until I tasted the 12 year Worthy Park 2006, which I evaluated a while ago here. I thought it eclipsed the Velier. But, the mind can play tricks on you. Since my mind is like Swiss cheese, I figured I should put them in a blind tasting and find out.
To make it a bit more confusing for my mind, I added the SBS Jamaica 2004. This is a WP rum from 2005 (labeling error), aged for 14 years with a 50/50 split between tropical and continental ageing. The mark is WPL (Worthy Park Light). It was one of the best rums I tried at UK rumfest. Click here for another review of a 1423.dk product, the SBS Jamaica 2018.
Worthy Park Single Estate 2006
Age: 12 years
Velier Forsyths 2006 WPM
Age: 11 years
Esters: 209,3 gr/hlpa
SBS Jamaica 2005
Age: 14 years
Starts off with a strong banana smell, which is not uncommon for Worthy Park rums, but this is definitely more towards the top of the banana scale. I’m also finding menthol cigarettes, prunes, brine, oak, pencil shavings, varnish, nutmeg and light cardboard. It’s the most expressive one of the three, not the most balanced.
Slightly more mellow than Rum 1. Starts with oak, then toffee, raisins, banana, olives, vanilla and a bit of cardboard and tobacco. Not super expressive like rum 1, but very pleasant and balanced. The sweet oak is incredibly nice.
Seems a little stronger, might have a higher abv than rum 2. This one is strong on the varnish…yum yum. There’s cardboard, light tobacco, brine, toffee, light banana, almonds and light compost. What else would you want from a rum than varnish and compost?! To me this is the most balanced and pleasant of the three.
Rum 3 wins the nosing round and I’ll put rum 1 just above rum 2 because it’s a bit bonkers.
It’s a very fruity affair and somewhat boozy. Strong on the oak spice and slightly bitter with dark chocolate. The menthol cigarettes are back, so is the varnish. It’s very dry.
Seems like a lower abv rum, or more aged than rum 1, as it is quite a bit softer. The beautifully sweet oak returns. There is medium oak spice, banana, caramel, raisins and tobacco. Long finish. Complex, soft and balanced. This really is very good.
This is a very grownup rum that drinks like 45%. Tobacco, toffee, very sweet oak, light paint stripper, almonds, brine and light banana. Finish is long and never turns bitter. Everything you taste is covered by a mellow sweetness. It’s awesome.
The tasting round is won solidly by rum 3, with rum 2 as a strong 2nd and rum 1 behind it quite a bit.
Rum 1 - SBS Jamaica 2005
Rum 2 - Worthy Park Single Estate 2006
Rum 3 - Velier Forsyths 2006 WPM
In the end, my mind did play tricks on me. In this blind tasting, the Velier is ahead of the WP Single Estate 2006 by quite a bit. The complexity, softness, finish and balance of the Velier are impressive. It’s not an easy task to eclipse the excellent Single Estate 2006, but it definitely does.
The SBS is another rum I enjoyed in this lineup. Not as much as the other two, but it is a great rum. It’s far more fruity, boozy and funky than the others. Which is a lot of fun.
In the end, I’d like to have a lifetime supply of the Velier Forsyths 2006 WPM. As this might just be the best Jamaican rum I’ve had so far. If this was the only Jamaican rum I could drink for the rest of my life, I’d be happy. Luckily I have a spare bottle.
SBS Jamaica 2005 - 83
Worthy Park Single Estate 2006 - 90
Velier Forsyths 2006 WPM - 95
Click here for info on the scoring method.