Back into it with my first visit to a SMWS bottling from Jamaica. This one is from Worthy Park……the name could almost be a giveaway. There really isn’t too much that I can tell you about Worthy Park that I have not covered elsewhere. So a little click here……or here might assist.
What I CAN tell you is that they’ve been producing some excellent Rum since the distillery was re-opened in 2005 and at the recent UK Rumfest in London, I got to try a couple of new under the counter bottles.
The first was a 17 year old Rum. This would’ve been from one of their early 2005 distillations on that lovely big Forsyths double retort. It was the WPL marque and was bottled at 54.72%. It really was everything that you’d want it to be.
The second was unaged cane juice distillate. The marque was WPE-CJN and it was bottled at 50.29%. I’m not sure that I have the correct superlatives to describe this. It’s both wildly expressive and vibrant whilst also being an absolutely huge Rum. I’m told by those that have visited Worthy Park that smelling it in the glass captures the very essence of walking around the distillery. One day. I can only hope.
I’m very hopeful that both will see a release at some point.
Anyhow…….onto the bottle in question.
SMWS R11.5 Flaming Rum Bananas – 66.1% – 0 g/l additives
Distilled on May 1st 2010, this bottling was matured in a refill ex bourbon barrel and bottled at 7 years of age. My assumption is that the majority of that time was spent in the cooler European climate. An outturn of 273 bottles, this weighs in at a hefty 66.1%. I’d also suggest that this is a WPL marque. Now I usually take the naming convention with a pinch of salt…….but Worthy Park does equate to Bananas in my mind.
Nose: A little uptight initially from the pour. This one needs a decent chunk of time to open up a little. Buttery vanilla slices. Coconut mochi. A little hint of the vegetal pings in and then swiftly disappears. We get some of the familiar and “classic” Worthy Park profile. Beautiful black breakfast tea. Bananas aplenty. Overripe and baked into a banana bread…..a brown sugar sprinkling on top and maybe some baked in chocolate chips. Dried banana chips covered in milk chocolate. A touch of barrel spice. Not as forthcoming as a lot of the distillery bottling’s that I’ve tried.
Mouth: Now we’re talking. THIS is what I was hoping to find more of on the nose. It really is in full on classic Worthy Park attack. Remarkably drinkable given the 66 degrees of alcohol that it’s packing but my word it is silky, all encompassing and it fully envelopes your tongue. Banana. Banana. Banana. Almost Tempus Fugit Creme de Banane with its chocolate and banana bread. This carries good depth. Bannofee pie with with ginger biscuit base. Chocolate coated banana and coconut chips. Spice bun. Sweet milky tea. A hint of Maltesers. The mid palate ushers in spicy black and Szechuan peppercorns. Mace. Cinnamon. Fragrant allspice. Fresh ginger root. Plenty borrowed from the barrel. The finish is a full presentation of what preceded it with perhaps the addition of a slice of spice bun drizzled with molasses. That banana remains ever present though.
In conclusion: A little disjointed from nose to palate if I’m being honest. The nose would be a solid 2/5 but the expressiveness of the palate and its classic nature when given time really lifts the experience. It’s not up to the standard of some of the distillery bottling’s, or even some of the other independent bottling’s such as from the Thompson Brother’s, though that one in particular carries more age. Not a classic. It doesn’t give fully to what we know that Worthy Park can give, it feels too restrained on the nose. It remains pretty solid though.
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