Worthy Park launches into the world of premium rum

By Richard Browne
Business editor
browne@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

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Worthy Park has revived its Worthy Park rum brand in Jamaica, with the local launch on Sunday of its premium Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve. The rum, a blend of rums between six and 10 years old, was introduced to Europe last year, but is now available on the local market.

The rum has already found a market in places like the United Kingdom, Poland, Greece, Denmark, Thailand and most recently, the United States.

The Worthy Park brand previously existed alongside its Rum Bar brand of white rum and vodka. But the decision was taken to pull the gold rum into the Rum Bar portfolio.

This higher-quality, aged rum has seen the reintroduction of the Worthy Park brand.

Product development for the rum started in 2016, with the testing of up to 10 blends. After much searching, the company sourced their bottles in Spain, their labels in Barbados and their synthetic corks from Portugal.

Gordon Clarke, whose family bought the property in 1918, is the company's CEO and managing director. The sugar industry is “being right-sized”, Clarke said at the farm's new visitor centre on the estate. “Value-adding is being done”.

The property, which is also known for orange production, now has some 3,000 acres of land under sugar cane cultivation and produces more than 100,000 tonnes of cane. It has been the most efficient producer of sugar on the island since 1968, Clarke said.

And that value-adding is not just in rum production. Apart from the Estate Reserve launch, the company has also launched its Worthy Park sugar brand, as well as its rum tour.

The new tour represents a widening of Jamaica's offering in that regard, with rum afficianados and others now able to experience three rum tours on the island, including the well-established Appleton tour in St Elizabeth and the more recent Hampden Estate tour in Trelawny — both of which have previously been featured in this paper.

The rum is produced entirely on the Worthy Park Estate from sugar cane grown in the area and molasses produced on the property. It is produced entirely in a modern copper still from Scotland, resulting in stronger flavours than rum produced in column stills.

The estate itself claims to have the oldest heritage of rum-making in the island, with the estate dating back to 1670, sugar production in 1720 and rum production in 1741.

Alexander Kong, export manager, is travelling around the world to sell the new Jamaican rum. The company has 10,000 barrels of the “funky” rum, he said, some as old as 14 years.

The Single Estate has also been winning a wide variety of awards, including rum of the year in Poland, best new rum product at the UK rum festival, and a double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

“We've won a ton of awards,” Kong said.

Worthy Park is “100 per cent Jamaican-owned and operated”, Clarke said.

At 45 per cent the rum has a higher alcohol content than many of its competitors. Its appearance is of a light amber, with thick and heavy legs. The nose is decribed as punch, with an up-front aroma of light tobacco and toasted oak, with spicy fruit and light vanilla. Its mouth is described as luscious, tropical fruits with a soft, buttery and almost creamy texture. Dry and slightly bitter with soft tannins, the rum is described as rounded out by toasted oak and nutmeg, with a hint of black pepper, spicy tobacco and a touch of ginger with a soft, dry finish.

The rum is currently selling at establishments such as Tracks and Records, the Half Moon Hotel and Strawberry Hill, as well as retail outlets such as MegaMart, among others. A price tag in the region of about $6,900 places it at the price range of some Appleton rums.

Meanwhile, in the US market a bottle retails for between US$59 to US$64.


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