Without being disrespectful, Worthy Park always feels like a Rum that almost everyone likes yet one that nobody has been waiting for. A strange combination indeed, which is why we do these sessions completely at random every time: They always fit in, but rarely anyone would notice if they were missing. I think you get the point. What is more, the variance in terms of quality is just massive. Again: I do like the distillery and its Rums, they are doing a great job, I am just missing that certain “wow-effect” most of the time and I think there are too many subpar bottlings out there these days. That said, let’s start with a pair of OBs!
Worthy Park Port Cask 2010 10YO (45%): Worthy Park and Port is just a very good match, I think. This is a two year long Port finish, or second maturation if you want. Nose: Ripe apples, pears, plums and plum juice, cinnamon, leather, milk chocolate, banana, a mix of herbal notes and fresh naphta. This is exactly what you expect, but again, it just works. Never change a winning team, they said, and I hope they won’t. Palate: Chocolate, plums, cinnamon and apples are my first impressions, quickly followed by green banana. Then oak, leather, some wax, bitter vanilla and more chocolate. It is very simple and follows the traditional pattern but we could just simply repeat ourselves: Never change a… ok, I stop. Finish: Relatively short, unfortunately. Banana, plums and a mix consisting of cherries, plums and dark berries vanishes way too quickly. Never change a… Dammit. (84/100)
Worthy Park Madeira Cask 2010 10YO (45%): We didn’t mention it but with the Port cask, the reduction wasn’t a problem in terms of flavours or texture, but it did create a certain sharpness, as strange as that might sound. Let’s check out this one. Nose: Not as intense and flavourful as the Port cask. Typically, these Madeira casks are much more in your face but that is clearly not the case here. Plums, grapes, raspberry, banana, milk chocolate and smoked paprika powder are my main associations but it all does feel a bit interchangable I have to say. Palate: Quite sharp, way more so than the Port Cask. It starts with smoked paprika, banana, semolina, a whiff of licorice and salty rubber. I know, that doesn’t sound too bad, but it is actually rather odd. I guess we just aren’t big fans of these Madeira casks… Finish: Short to medium long with salty licorice, some tar, apple, plaster and minty oak. I am really not sure what happened here but it just isn’t my cup of tea. (77/100)
Valinch & Mallet Saint Catherine (Worthy Park) 2007 12YO (56,6%): It actually has been a while since we’ve had Worthy Park, but if I remember correctly, 2007 was hit and miss. And these Rums are still getting better and better with age. So what should we expect? Frankly, I don’t know. Nose: Creamy and rather herbal with dill, parsley and oregano. Than milk chocolate, cumin, banana chips, freshly cut wood and Oolong tea. Quite atypical if you ask me, but we have to taste this to learn more. Palate: A mix between those rather uncommon notes from the nose and what we have saved in our minds as Worthy Park. Banana and herbs are standard, but these Oolong associations clearly are not. What is more, the banana is nowhere near as pronounced as with most other Worthy Parks – if that’s good or bad is up to you I guess. Next to that the fresh wood again, paired with more vegetal notes, which are almost as odd as the tea. Quite the weirdo, and while it isn’t terrible, I must say that I am not really a fan either. Finish: Relatively long with the herbs and vegetal notes but it doesn’t offer anything new. It is a new facet to a distillery profile that has become rather one-dimensional if you ask me, but the downside is that this just isn’t what I have been waiting for. (77/100)
The Wild Parrot St. Catherine (Worthy Park) 2006 13YO (55,4%): So far, 2006 seemed to be my favorite Worthy Park vintage to date but we have to admit that we lost track of more recent vintages a bit. Nose: Quite interesting actually as we get all sorts of different notes ranging from herbs (thyme, oregano) over glue and fruits (banana, mango) to wood and spices (anise, cloves). Later we also get milk chocolate and notes closer to mint and After Eight. All in all it seems to be a very classic profile, but it is very well-balanced between these flavour camps. Palate: Now things are leaning a bit more towards the milk chocolate side of things. The Rum is relatively sweet in a sense, yet also quite dry with many additional layers from the cask. Flambéed banana, salted caramel and with the third sip also a very large set of herbs, are other impressions. I kinda like this a lot, not because it is special in any particular sense (i.e. it is not ultra exciting) but because it is just doing everything right. Finish: A mix of chocolate, herbs and wood. Vanilla, tonka and ripe banana can be found as well. One of the better Worthy Parks we have had in recent memory. (87/100)
S.B.S Jamaica (Worthy Park) 2004 (2005!) 13YO (58,7%): The label says 2004 but as you may know, Worthy Park just restarted distilling in 2005, the vintage that should actually be found here. Nose: Not as strong on the banana as I have the batch in mind. It is there of course, even the key player here, but it also makes space for other notes such as kerosene, milk chocolate, thyme, a hint of honey-flavoured smoked ham and clearly also a mix of grains. Not bad, but at this point this profile feels so redundant and interchangable, no matter how good or bad it is. Palate: Flambéed banana, some honey, the mix of herbs from the nose, also the ham, wood and now also the grains. The flavour profile seemingly tries to copy the scents from the nose, which is not a problem at all however. The only problem I have here, and it is something very personal, is that I got quite bored of this profile, as stated above. That doesn’t mean that it is not a good Rum though. With the third sip I also get a few sweeter, almost syrupy elements that remind me of cherries, which I really like. Nice! Finish: Wood, herbs and milk chocolate stay around for a bit, turn fresh and minty after a couple of seconds though. A good Rum. I wonder what this will be like at 20+ years. (84/100)
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