It’s time for another rum from “The Rum Cask”. They have built a reputation for releasing high quality rums at very reasonable prices. Today’s bottling is one of their very first releases and no exception, despite its young age. It is the The Rum Cask Worthy Park 2009 4YO.
This was one of the first rums that has been released by The Rum Cask which has been “Recommended by Barrel-Aged-Thoughts“. Back then, the Whisky bottler “The Whisky Cask” approached the (at that point trio of) bloggers and asked for their help in selecting rums for their new rum line. This was one of them and at the same time perhaps also the first rum from Worthy Park in “original strength” (i.e. the undiluted strength of the vatting) by an independent bottler.
Worthy Park is a sugar estate and distillery in Jamaica’s St. Catherine Parish and located just a bit east of the island’s heart. The production of sugar started in 1720 and it seems likely that the first rums have been distilled around that time as well. One source mentiones 1741 in this context. Like most other sugar producers and rum distillers, Worthy Park has been hit hard by falling sugar prices. In Jamaica, you have to add that many distillers were sticking to their pot stills while rum production became more efficient with the introduction of column stills in the rest of the Caribbean. This just spurred competition even further.
As a result, Worthy Park stopped distilling in 1960. Instead, they focused on improving their farming and processing techniques, which transformed Worthy Park into one of the most efficient producers of sugar in the Caribbean. In 2005, Gordon Clark, a member of the family that bought Worthy Park in 1918, decided to resume rum production. That’s why you won’t find any older Worthy Parks at the moment. The upside? Most of the batches that arrived in Europe in the last couple of years have been aged at least partially in the tropics. That typically means a higher concentration of flavours and a maturation that is higher than the age on the label suggests. Recently, the market has been flooded with Worthy Parks by all kind of independent bottlers. The connoisseur is faced with the agony of choice. Indeed not the worst problem to have.
Today, Worthy Park distills in a modern Forsyths pot-still, which is probably a compromise between efficient production and a flavourful product. It has a capacity of 18.000 litres and is used to distill the following products, where the numbers in brackets denotes the ester range:
- Light Pot Still Rum (60-119)
- Medium Pot Still Rum (120-239)
- Heavy Pot Still Rum (240-360)
These are not very high values by Jamaican standards. We have already seen a Worthy Park with a higher ester concentration, however. It is the Habitation Velier Forsyths WP 502, an unaged white rum. Comparisons with aged products are of course very difficult and it will be interesting to see whether we will be getting any aged high ester rums from Worthy Park in the future.
Dégustation “The Rum Cask Worthy Park 2009 4YO”
Key Facts: This pot-still rum has been distilled at Worthy Park, Jamaica in 2009. After four years of ageing, The Rum Cask released the first edition of this rum in 2013 and a second in 2014. Both come at 63,1% and are, as far as I can tell, identical.
Colour and viscosity: Yellow gold. Almost no pearls, thin streaks quickly flow down inside the glass.
Nose: There is no room for debate what’s the dominating flavour here and everyone who ever had a rum from Worthy Park will immediately recognise it. Flambéed banana, overripe and slightly foul banana, banana pulp and banana chips. Yes, you read correctly, there are some banana aromas to be found in this one. There is of course a bit more to it. I can clearly smell vanilla and perhaps milk chocolate with a very low cocoa content. We also get more wood from the cask than you would expect from a rum of this age.
Palate: The aromas from the nose nicely transform into exactly the same flavours in the mouth. We have all sorts of banana products, most notably the flambéed version. The concentration of the flavours is very intense and they all penetrate the taste buds simultaneously. They don’t reveal themselves one after another as most other rums do. The vanilla is also still there. We do get a bit more now. I can taste herbal medicine and spices such as cloves and pepper. Again a noticeable amount of wood without ever making the rum any smooth. At the end we get a decent amount of smokiness. The 63% do a good job at delivering the flavours and are well-integrated. Again, this is very remarkable for such a young rum.
Finish: The spices and some smoke prevail. The banana is also there (what a surprise), but this time it’s not the central character. Drying out and not very long.
This is the in-your-face kind of rum. Young, raw and with a lot of power it shouts out what it has to say instead of gently delivering its message. That’s both, its strength and its weakness. It does a great job at presenting the distillery’s character but it is not rich or complex at all. You won’t find anything new after the initial burst of aromas. While it is really mature for its age, it is still a raw and impetuous rum. It will lose most direct comparisons with many of the older Worthy Parks on the market but none of them is as powerful. It probably wouldn’t be a fair comparison though. This will always be a different animal to be tamed.
If you like raw and brutal rums, this is a clear buying recommendation, especially at this asking price. It also makes a great mixer for drinks that need a dominant rum. I don’t usually mix high quality rums but try this with spicy ginger ale/ beer. What a treat.