After the indie Worthy Parks, let’s move on to their new official bottlings. Worthy Park is one of the few distilleries who have really been pursuing the releases of own bottlings lately, with quite some success. The rums of their Cask Selection Series play around with different types of finishes/ double maturations, i.e. they have all been ageing partly in ex-Bourbon casks before they were filled in the respective fortified wine cask. All in al, I must say that these finishes work quite well with the general character of Worthy Park’s distillate. Let’s see what they came up with.
Worthy Park CSS #3 Sherry (2013-2018, 57%): The first thing you’ll notice is the Sherry and the rum immediately reminds me of the Rum Nation Jamaica 8YO Oloroso Finish, even though I believe that this OB should be a bit drier. As with the Rum Nation, the combination of Sherry and Worthy Park works very well. I get a mix of the typical banana chips, dark (stone) fruits, leather, slightly peppery notes and a bag of wild herbs in the background. Taking a sip, I find that the rum is drier than the ‘standard’ Bourbon Worthy Parks. This must have been a relatively dry Sherry I think. We’re getting pretty much the same notes from the nose but the rum is less fruity than I initially thought. In fact, it is even slightly adstringent. Very nice! The only thing I am missing here relative to the Bourbon maturations are the pronounced vanilla flavours but all in all this is great stuff. Crucially, it is not generic at all and the Sherry doesn’t dominate the distillate. The finish is relatively rich with drier notes of wood, dry banana chips, the herbs and now again some fruitier notes. Well done! (85/100)
Worthy Park CSS #4 Madeira (2013-2018, 58%): Compared to the Sherry version, this one is more vinous and alcoholic in the nose. Sweeter elements like raspberries or Sangria are the dominant aromas here. While the Sherry created a balanced combination by enhancing the rum rather than shaping it, the Madeira is a tad too dominant in my opinion. Moreover, I think the rum needs a lot more time in the glass to settle down. After about an hour it has become a lot less alcoholic but going back to the Sherry, it is still not as elegant. Palate: The sweet notes are now more akin to dark fruits. The fortified wine is very present and the banana flavours take a few seconds to come through. Later we get the herbs, some light tannins and alcohol pickled cherries. The finish is again relatively long but sweeter and quite vinous. It is not a bad rum at all but everything seems to work just so much better with the Sherry cask. (81/100)
Worthy Park CSS #5 Port (2008-2018, 56%): Note that this one is older than the others but that of course doesn’t mean that it is better! The nose is deep and intense, with plenty of dark fruits. Besides plums, I get different sorts of berries, most notably brambleberries, and desert like notes such as crème brûlée, caramel and caramelised figs. The banana notes are quite subtle but the rum still feels very homogenous. In that sense it is very similar to the Sherry version but this particular combination works even better if you ask me. The palate still strikes up with the plums and berries and is more intense, creamy, balanced and less alcoholic than the other two rums. Next we get fresh and stewed banana (i.e. no banana chips) and behind that some more aggressive, kerosene-like notes but they fit in rather well. Just like the two previous rums, it eventually also makes the switch to a more herbal profile. Finish: Rather long and creamy with plums and bananas. Interestingly, it is less woody than the other two despite being twice as old. (86/100)
For me, these three rums are a lot better than the majority of the recent wave of relatively young Worthy Parks released by independent bottlers, a bunch of which I have reviewed here. Given that most distilleries fail to keep up with indie bottlings in general, this is very encouraging! Worthy Park seems to be doing something right and even if it is as simple as listening to what the rum crowd wants. Good job!
As you may have noticed, I do have a favorite among these: The Port cask is just really great. Sherry might be more elegant and suitable for most palates but if you are into slightly (very slightly ;)) more extreme versions, without getting too generic that is, than the Port should be your Worthy Park of choice!
Disclaimer: These samples have been provided free of charge. This did not bias the author in any possible way nor did it dictate the content of this article.