Spiraling mountain roads will lead you to a sweeping view of lushness in the valley below. As you continue the venture, a colourful sign display welcomes you to the grounds of Worthy Park Estate. The Jamaican rum tour and distillery has a lot of history flowing throughout its grand estate! On the rainy day of our visit, we were greeted by staff distributing Jamaican-coloured umbrellas (similar to the 1 I got at Rockhouse Hotel). This ensured that our palettes would be the only parts of our bodies getting wet on this Jamaican rum tour!
Worthy Park Estate: 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 fruit punch, spiked with Rum-Bar Gold AND Silver rums! The bar area also includes small servings of pre-rum ingredients: sugar cane, cane juice, and molasses (aka wet sugar) to sample. It is said to be the only local distillery that makes and uses its own molasses, about 70% of which are distributed elsewhere. After a couple glasses of punch, take a seat around the oblong tables to view an on-screen presentation of the Worthy Park sugar plantation.
Worthy Park Estate batches are distilled, aged, blended, and bottled on site. Following the ~10minute virtual tour and cane juicing demonstration is an informative walking tour, starting at the distillery where the copper pot-stills are found. It’s more theory-based when compared to the popular rum tour in St. Elizabeth, and includes neon safety vests for the duration of the walk. Rums are distilled using the copper pot-still method to give a heavy body full of esters and congeners.
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 claimed 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’ll may also observe this process and boxes of products.
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 clear 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 level in my bloodstream was very much felt! With up to 60% alcohol content, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
After all that, you get a little souvenir – a bottle of overproof white rum to take home with you! Tour reservations are by appointment only, and cost the Jamaican-equivalent of $20US for locals and $25US for internationals.
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 the 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. The crew was a bit ‘high on life’ after this informative tour and tastings. I think it’s safe to say the spirits were fully present.
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. Naturally, the towering cane fields of the estate are a staple part of the rum-making process. Stretching more than 10, 000 acres in Lluidas Vale, St. Catherine sits the green fields of The Worthy Park Estate. 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. A visit to the sugar cane fields isn’t included the Worthy Park Estate tour, but as a part of the Love Not Likes group we were able to capture some shots there.
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! Since then it has only been under ownership by 3 families, and 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. There was an oversupply of Jamaican Rum following World War II and production was temporarily ceased in 1962 until the distillery’s completion in 2005 with a selection of both aged (red) and unaged (white) spirits.
What part of this Jamaican rum tour would you look forward to doing most?
Immerse your senses in the sights, sounds, flavours, aromas and craft of a truly Jamaican rum!
Call 876-903-6103/5 or book online to have fun in the rum.
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