It feels like there are always some Worthy Parks lying around. They just keep on accumulating, no matter how quick we are to counter that affect. It’s not that I complain about it, the general level of Worthy Park is rather high, but in a sense most of them are rather similar and we seldom get any real surprises. Let’s see what we have this time.
Arnisser No. 7 Jamaica (Worthy Park) 2012 5YO (62%): Arnisser released a whole bunch of young rums a couple of years ago but most of them were way to sharp for my liking. Nose: Again, rather sharp with plenty of fruit schnaps, Calvados, Williams, and only behind that some banana. Then a hint of herbs, milk chocolate and indeed some alcohol, but that shouldn’t surprise us. At this point I am just not sure if this fruit schnaps side is a sign of immaturity or not. Palate: The first sip gently burns my tongue but it is not a huge deal. Then a weird combination of Calvados and banana, creamy milk chocolate, the characteristic herbs, cinnamon and also more wood than I expected. The maturity seems to be fine I’d say. Finish: Again, more influence from the cask than you’d think. It’s short but comes with many of the cask aromas such as cinnamon, vanilla and oak. The rum is not too bad and given its price would be a good start into cask strength rums. For my personal liking, it could be a bit more interesting though. (78/100)
SMWS R11.4 “Tasty Treat” (Worthy Park) 2010 6YO (66,1%): My only exposure to the 2010 vintage was the atrocious, equally old bottling by Ferroni but hope is that the SMWS is more selective. Nose: Now this isn’t too bad. Very banana heavy, a bit alcoholic and one-dimensional but not bad. There’s milk chocolate, vanilla, some herbs and some gasoline. Very typical and characteristic but I am afraid that it might be too immature again. Let’s see. Palate: Banana dipped in milk chocolate with a hint of chocolate covered raisins, kerosene and herbal notes towards the end. It’s a one trick pony but it works I must say. It is light years ahead of the Ferroni! The finish isn’t short at all but offers more of the same. With intense, almost brutal rums like these that’s not necessarily a bad thing by the way. I am actually a bit surprised myself but I kinda like this rum. Sometimes it is this easy-going and almost naive juvenility that does the trick. Nice juice! (82/100)
That Boutique-Y Rum Company Secret Distillery #1 (Worthy Park) 2009 9YO (58%): Oh these secrets… and exceedingly excessive prices for rather young rums. Nose: Even if it were a secret to you, within the first millisecond of the fragrances entering your nostrils you’ll know what this is. Bananas, herbs, fresh apples, more banana, some more herbs, milk chocolate, vanilla and this characteristic hint of kerosene make sure to remind you where this hails from. 2009 is basically an educated guess but comparing this one to the entirely tropically aged The Rum Cask Worthy Park 2009 4YO does reveal some differences: Even though the banana notes are still very much dominant, they seem to weaken over time, making for a more balanced rum. The palate contains even less banana and I’d say that it is mostly an apple/ herb combination that dominates. Behind that green banana, mixed fruit jam, cocoa, some spices such as pepper or cinnamon and with every sip more and more herbs. The finish is short to medium long with the herbs, spices and kerosene. The wood probably did shape the rum quite a bit but mostly by adding notes rather than subtractive maturation. Decent stuff, but either I prefer other vintages or the more extreme side of the distillery. My guess is both. (82/100)
Worthy Park Cask Selection Series #8 Quatre Vins 2013 5YO (52%): These finished OBs are a lot of fun and the combination of ex-Bourbon, -Monbazilliac, -Sauternes, -Moscatel and -Jurancon casks sounds interesting. I’d say that, on papaer, it has the potential to be anywhere between ‘brilliant’ and ‘failed experiment’. Nose: Despite all the fancy cask types, this is clearly Worthy Park. That’s a good sign I guess. Put differently, next to all these wild and vinous notes we still get banana and milk chocolate. Where this one takes a different turn though is with its red fruits and berries (raspberry, strawberry, cherry, red currant etc). Its quite interesting but I hope that the Sauternes elements won’t turn out to be too sweet as this is what I am anticipating right here. Palate: It is sweet, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it is too sweet. I definitely get plenty of the vinous notes as well as pretty much the same set of red berries as in the nose. Then banana (yeah…) Spanish oranges, lemon, sweetener and something that reminds me of a certain herbal liqueur. With every subsequent sip, I am feeling that it is getting sweeter and sweeter actually and while I thought that it was really good at first, my excitement is quickly fading away, unfortunately. The finish is more of the same and it would have been really helpful if it had been a bit drier here. So did the experiment succeed? I am not sure. It is clearly a good rum, but it definitely isn’t what I was hoping for when I saw the label. Less fortified wine and more “real” wine is what might have done the trick. This is just more of the same old, same old, if you know what I mean. But that shouldn’t affect how we rate this one, of course. (81/100)
Habitation Velier Forsyths WP (Worthy Park) 2005 10YO (57,8%): This is part of the first distillation at Worthy Park Distillery since 1962. Remember that Worthy Park has just resumed producing rum in that year and when the rum came out almost five years ago, I remember it being the best Worthy Park to date. Of course a lot has happend since then… Nose: The oh so typical banana profile with all of its facets (banana chips, ripe banana, banana puree etc). Behind that we can find milk chocolate, a whiff of glue, some herbs I won’t dare to call out individually and sour cherry. The nose is really good, but nothing special if you want. It really just is that minor point I’ve just mentioned: When the rum came out, it really just was a notch above the other Worthy Parks. Palate: It is here that the rum demonstrates its full potential. We get an oh so lovely combination of banana and cherry (remember that mixed fruit juice we used to have as kids!?), herbs, ever so vaguely some kerosene, roasting aromas (cocoa, coffee) and solid 65%ish chocolate. Later also orange peel and a cinnamon/ vanilla mix. Nice! Finish: A bit sharp (spicy and alcoholic) but that might also be the kerosene-note. Banana and herbs accompany us all the time. I think the maturity is (almost) spot on, maybe two more years but that should be all that this rum needs. I can imagine that it would only lose its flavour-intensity from there on. Well, well. (88/100)