Spiraling mountain roads will lead you to a sweeping view of lushness in the valley below. As you continue the venture, a large sign welcomes you to the vista of Worthy Park Estate. The Jamaican rum tour and distillery has a lot of history flowing through its grand slice of mesmerizing countryside! On the rainy day of my first visit, we were greeted by staff distributing Jamaican flag-coloured umbrellas (similar to the 1 I got at Rockhouse Hotel). This ensured that palettes would be the only parts of our bodies soaked on the Worthy Park rum tour!
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Worthy Park Estate: Truly Jamaican Rum Tour
The 1.5 hour tour befittingly starts at the bar. As you walk through the entrance, you’re offered a signature drink of fruity rum punch, spiked with Rum-Bar Gold AND Silver rums! The bar area also includes small servings of pre-rum ingredients: sugar cane, cane juice, brown sugar, and molasses (aka wet sugar) to sample. After a couple glasses of punch, take a seat in the lounge around the oblong tables to view an on-screen presentation of the Worthy Park Estate sugar plantation.
Worthy Park Estate’s batches are distilled, aged, blended, and bottled on site. Following the ~10minute virtual tour is an informative walking tour, starting at the distillery where the copper pot-stills are found. Rums are distilled using the copper pot-still method to give a heavy body full of esters and congeners. The Worthy Park rum tour is more theory-based when compared to the popular rum tour in St. Elizabeth.
The ageing warehouse is filled with wooden barrels that house Worthy Park rums for years. Sunshine peeks through the shutter door to cast natural light upon the ceiling-to-floor barrel stacks in the otherwise dark room. The fragrance of spirits fill the air as they evaporate from the barrels and absorb hints of the wood. It’s said that if you’re locked in the room for ~2hours, that alone will be enough to leave you tipsy from the “Angel’s Share” floating in the air! Within the same warehouse is the bottling facility, so you may also observe the bottling and boxing process in action.
The tour concludes on a high with everyone’s favourite part – a tasting of 5 award-winning Rum-Bar and Worthy Park Single Estate premium rums! It begins with an unaged Silver rum and progresses to creamy rum cream. A glass of water sits on the side to cleanse your palette after each shot to fully appreciate the taste of the next one.
As the tastings happen, you’re taught how to get a hint of the rums’ strength, aroma, and contributing flavours. My nose and palette didn’t identify all the flavours that a true rum connoisseur might, but what I do know is that after each tasting the alcohol in my bloodstream was felt! With up to 60% alcohol content, I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all that, you get a spirited souvenir to take home with you!
Worthy Park Estate Jamaican Rums
Tropically-aged rums are blended on-site, with no sugars or flavours added to the final product. Here are a few of the aroma and taste notes that you should pick up (as I mentioned, I’m not this refined so I didn’t catch em all lol). The 5 rum tastings at the end of my Worthy Park Estate Jamaican rum tour include:
- Rum-Bar Silver: Unaged rum packs a hard-hitting aroma of banana with hints of citrus and vanilla. Its fruity with buttery flavour gives a strong, lingering finish. It’s an alternative to the overproof bottle at 40% alcohol
- Rum-Bar Rum: This premium White Overproof Rum is a blend of 3 unaged rums. 63% ABV. The scent and taste of banana is evident in this 63% ABV spirit, and will certainly leave a lingering impression
- Rum-Bar Gold: Premium rum aged for a minimum of 4 years. The fruity scent of banana and apples lingers on the tongue, with an added vanilla sweetness
- Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve: The 1st release under Worthy Park’s range of bottled rum, and aged between 6-10 years. Aromas of light tobacco, oak, and fruit are evident with light notes of vanilla. Dry and slightly bitter, with hints of black pepper and ginger.
- Rum-Bar Rum Cream: I fell in love with this from the single-serving-sized bottle of this from the inaugural Love Not Likes blogger excursion in Portland. Rum-Bar Rum is used along with real cream to create this smooth, creamy concoction.
These rums and more are available islandwide as well as in select United States and countries of the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Africa. Special bottles, such as the 12-year reserve, may only be available at the estate and select foreign markets.
Sugarcane Plantation: Jamaican Rum Factory
Did you know that rum is derived from sugar cane? Yep! I didn’t know that before the first rum tour I did. Stretching more than 10, 000 acres in Lluidas Vale, St. Catherine sits the green fields of The Worthy Park Estate. Naturally, the towering cane fields of the estate are a staple part of the rum-making process. My only other time venturing through tall cane field stalks like this was at a former plantation on the way to the highest botanical garden in the western hemisphere.
Worthy Park Estate’s History
The Worthy Park Estate was incepted over 300 years ago in 1670, making it the oldest existing sugar distillery in Jamaica! It has been in the hands of the local Clarke family since 1918. Commercial production of sugarcane and sugar began in 1720 and continues to this day, while the 1st record of its rum production was in 1741.
What part of Worthy Park Estate’s Jamaican rum tour would you look forward to doing most?
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