After the Hampdens, let’s check out what S.B.S did with these Worthy Parks. They’ve already produced the finishes for several official Worthy Park bottlings, so my expectations are rather high.
Let’s have them in ascending order regarding abv. Note that there’s no “standard” Bourbon maturation this time.
S.B.S Worthy Park 2014 6YO “Oloroso Cask” (46%): I think it is fair to say that I prefer Oloroso over PX in general. In this series we have both. Nose: Sweet, honey-dipped banana with sour cherries, leather and wood. Then herbal notes, that sometimes characteristic scent of gasoline/ kerosene, sweet potatoe and a mix of nuts. A really nice nose. Palate: We are clearly getting both, the notes from the distillate (banana, herbs, milk chocolate) and those from the cask (cherries, nuts, red fruit syrup) and it is definitely a match that works for me, even though it’s a tiny bit too much on the sweet side for my liking. Because of the latter, the maturity and texture is very, very good, given that we are having “only” a six year old Rum. Finish: Drier than the palate with wood, herbs, cocoa and fir resins. I like this one. It’s dangerously easy to sip, yet still interesting enough to spend some with it. (85/100)
S.B.S Worthy Park 2014 6YO “Cognac Cask” (48%): We didn’t feature a lot of Cognac in our “Yaktober” special but nevertheless, we have been spending a lot of time with “France’s noble spirit” nevertheless. Don’t worries, the reviews will come eventually. Anyway, nose: At least in the nose, I am not getting much Cognac (I think). At least it is not as dominant as the influence of the Sherry casks. Banana, vanilla, pear, something between dried peach and apricot and later herbal notes are my main associations. Not bad, but not special either. Palate: Now you see where this is going. And we don’t even need dosage. There’s this “spice” mix that we often times find in Maison Ferrand’s bottlings. Behind banana and herbs we find cinnamon, cardamom, very dry wood, very astringent, banana chips. bitter vanilla (yeah, vanilla is actually bitter my friends), hibiscus, cumin and apricots. Wow, I didn’t expect this, especially not after the rather dull nose. Finish: Very long, dry and slightly bitter with oak, banana, herbs and spices. I have got to say that I didn’t like it at first but boy, this one grew on me. Nicely done! (87/100)
S.B.S Worthy Park 2014 6YO “PX Cask” (50%): You know the deal: Worthy Park and fortified wine almost always works. It got to a point where I believe that you cannot do many mistakes with that combination. Nose: Not as expressive as the Oloroso Cask. Interestingly, the banana notes are not my first impressions here, much rather the herbs and dry, woody notes. Not typical PX I think. With more time in the glass also more sweeter notes, a whiff of sulphate, a used grinding belt and the heated friction of a drill bit. Call me crazy, but I think it makes sense here. Palate: Once again, this is quite different from the nose – in a good way. Banana, herbs, nuts, red fruits and their syrups as well as this dry and astringent woodyness again. Also coffee I think. Once again, I wasn’t too sure about this one at first but started to like it more and more with every sip. This dry bitterness, paired with the added sweetness and the standard Worthy Park profile is just very good. The only slight downside is the integration of the alcohol but besides that, there’s not much to complain about. Finish: Medium long, sweet (those red fruits), astringent (the wood) and with those herbs and notes of vanilla here and there. Quite odd, despite being relatively standard on paper. But I guess that’s the whole point of these series. (85/100)
S.B.S Worthy Park 2014 6YO “Nordic Virgin Oak Cask” (52%): I have no clue what “Nordic Oak” means and I didn’t bother asking but I guess its just oak from Scandinavia. Nose: I didn’t know what to expect here and I got exactly that: Something different! We probably don’t need to talk about the distillate’s profile anymore (banana, herbs, milk chocolate, and I guess that hint of kerosene at the palate) so let’s simply mention what’s new: Confir, pretzels and salty savory snacks, salammoniac and licorice, saline solution perhaps and cocoa. Let’s take a sip before giving a premature verdict. Palate: Sweeter than the nose but just as salty, with salammoniac and Katjes’ Salzinge Heringe. From time to time we really dig this, just not every day. But indeed, it shows what a different wood can do, which is rather cool. Finish: Very nice and long with more salty notes, licorice and even iodine. Mhh. Let’s just call this the Worthy Park Albion. It is very tough, almost impossible to score this one though. Depending on my mood this could be my favorite and my least favorite Rum of the bunch. Alas, this could also be as a high as a 87 on some days. For the record though: (81/100)