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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 11, 2019


Another wee bunch of Jamaicans

Didn’t we say we’d have more? We’ve got a good few Worthy Parks, for example, such as this little white…

Worthy Park ‘Forsyths White’ (57%, Habitation Velier, Jamaica, 2017)

Worthy Park ‘Forsyths White’ (57%, Habitation Velier, Jamaica, 2017) Four stars
Forsyths, of Scotland, are the makers of the double-retort pot still used here, while the level of esters is of 597 g/hlpa, which is high but not dementedly so. Colour: white. Nose: it’s not that you’re getting the molasses, but it does have notes of sucrose beyond the huge piles new Wellies and tyres. Other than that, you’ll find the usual fermenting bananas as well as wee whiffs of rosewater. Which, I suppose, would go away after just a few months in wood. With water: more new tyres, more lime, more olives, less rosewater (that was quick!) Mouth (neat): reminds you that rum is extremely different from whisky, in the sense that all flavours are there in the first place, which makes aging in wood just an additional process, and not an essential one. Unless we’re talking industrial high-column rum, naturally. Kirsch and Williams pears, sugar syrup, limoncello, then the expected olives, tar, rubber and liquorice. With water: improves. Bright and millimetric (take that BoJo) sardine-y, lemony, and with a lot of brine. And olives, and even gin. Finish: rather long, but once you’ve found notes of gin, you cannot get those out of your head. So, gin, sugar. Comments: seriously, this is seriously good white rum, rather high precision.
SGP:652 - 86 points.

Let’s try just the opposite, for fun…

Black Jack (no ABV statement, OB, Jamaica, USA, +/-1950)

Black Jack (no ABV statement, OB, Jamaica, USA, +/-1950)
Some very old Jamaican, most probably a blend, bottled for a Yorkville Liquor Co., Third avenue 79th Street, New York. Colour: pale gold. Nose: someone may have toyed with this little baby, as it noses much sweeter and rounder than your usual Jamaican (even than young Appleton). I’m getting really a lot of coconut liqueur and water, for example, really a lot, as well as some hand cream and ‘humble’ moisturizers. Careful now… Mouth: it’s good, but it hasn’t got much Jamaicanness, while it could have come from just any island. Loads of coconut once again, syrups, cane sugar, caramel… It’s getting a little cloying, to tell you the truth. Clearly ‘arranged’ rum, but within that category, it’s doing rather well. Finish: long, but that’s the ethanol and the sugar. Comments: not all Jamaicans have always been sugar-free, but the ‘preparations’ may have happened at any stage of production or… shipping/warehousing.
SGP:820 - 65 points.

Jamaica Rum 13 yo 2005/2018 (53%, Cave Guildive, 248 bottles)

Jamaica Rum 13 yo 2005/2018 (53%, Cave Guildive, 248 bottles) Three stars and a half
They wouldn’t tell you from where it stemmed, but the marque here was ‘JMWP’, which clearly means Worthy Park. Colour: deep gold. Nose: it’s not your average high-voltage Worthy Park, but it’s got a marvellous medicinal and nutty start, full of pine needles, camphor, eucalyptus, oak extracts, bitter almonds, and crushed bananas. Goes on with more pine/fir notes and the kind of tropical cakes that you would find in some agricoles. The whole is just perfect. With water: some soap, loads of paraffin, some green tannins, let’s wait… zzz… Well, it’s getting a little plankish I’m afraid, but nothing too serious. Mouth (neat): a tad too extractive, perhaps, too sweet as well (strawberry liqueur, guignolet), but the spices are perfect, between cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet curry. The oak feels a wee bit, but it should be a good swimmer. With water: it is a good swimmer. More brine, olives and anchovies, while the oak’s spices have got earthier. Always a good sign. Finish: long, even more ‘pot still’, so more on olive brine, to cut a long story short. Comments: many ups and some downs here. A bit between two worlds, but quality’s very high.
SGP:462 - 84 points.

WP Jamaica 13 yo 2005/2018 (55.3%, Valinch & Mallet, cask #18-1302R, 256 bottles)

WP Jamaica 13 yo 2005/2018 (55.3%, Valinch & Mallet, cask #18-1302R, 256 bottles) Three stars and a half
WP, what could that be? I tell you, one day some good folks will label this elusive make ‘Porky Wrath’ or something. Happened in whisky, will happen in rum. Sure, be my guest. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re rather on fruit peelings this time, old pears, then tobacco and camphor, a welcome touch of vinegar, brine, and a rising orange-blossomness. It is not high-ester ‘WP’. With water: earth, warm cakes, toffee, sawn pinewood. Hints of Bovril or Viandox too, that’s nice! Mouth (neat): creamy, and with the same kind of soapiness as in the Guildive. Not quite soap, but not quite wax either. Water should help once more… With water: rather rubber, which is not unseen in some batches of WP. Otherwise, it’s brine and olives once more. Finish: long, gritty, brine-y. Comments: it appears that these batches of 2005 are a little ‘different’. They may have changed something to the processes, but it’s not nearly as bad as in 1980s Bowmore. See what I mean? Anyway, very good WP, as expected.
SGP:462 - 84 points.

Perhaps an OB?...

Worthy Park ‘Marsala Cask Finish 2012’ (60%, OB, Jamaica, double matured, 319 bottles, +/-2018)

Worthy Park ‘Marsala Cask Finish 2012’ (60%, OB, Jamaica, double matured, 319 bottles, +/-2018) Two stars
I think we tried another Marsala-ed Worthy Park before and it was OK, but purists will wonder, ‘why Marsala?’ What’s the real difference between saucing-up your rum as many brands do, and using any ex-wine casks you may find to do a finishing? Isn’t that all premixing anyway? Colour: deep gold. Nose: of course you feel it, and of course the very essence of the original distillate was altered. Raisins, walnut wine and used matches, is that really an asset to a rock-solid Worthy Park? Whacky stuff. With water: no! More sulphur coming out. Mouth (neat): much better, because the distillate took over, that is all. Lemons, salt, brine, tarmac, and only a little wine, phew! With water: yes, same. Still a few raisins flying around, but the esters are watching (?) Finish: long, but harder again, green, bitter, sulphury, deviant. Comments: people are often wondering if rum is going the whisky way these days. I think they should not, and that while some whiskies aren’t flavourful enough (or too flawed) to stand on their own feet and so need additional wine and/or wood, that just cannot happen with Worthy Park, Bielle, Hampden, Neisson, Foursquare, Bellevue and a few other names. Finishings equal bad signals, I would definitely ban Marsala, Zinfandel, Barolo, Bordeaux, Chardonnay, or whatever unnecessary mashups they could come up with. And my, the sulphur on the nose!
SGP:652 - 75 points.

Reminds me of one of Glenfarclas’s mottos, ‘We don’t finish our whiskies, but you can.’

(Merci Hubert)

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