Brand: Worthy Park, Special Barrel series
Origin: Worthy Park, Lluidas Vale, Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica (picked by Florida Rum Society)
Age: 13 years
For review #13, I figured it would be perfect to review one of my favorite 13 year rums: the Worthy Park 13 year "Gemini Barrel", picked by the Florida Rum Society.
For those unfamiliar, Worthy Park is one of what I would describe as the Big 3 of Jamaican distilling: they sit alongside Hampden Estate and Appleton Estate as the largest and most prolific active distilleries on the island. I personally would describe Worthy Park distillate as funkier than Appleton, but perhaps a little more dialed-back than Hampden. Their house brand, Rum-Bar, offers several expressions of cocktail-friendly rum, while their more premium self-title releases focus on more curated distillates.
The Florida Rum Society (FRS) pick that we have here, "Gemini", sits in the latter category. This is not actually a single barrel pick, but a selection of 2 barrels that were banded together during their aging, due to their identical nature (hence being named after Gemini, the constellation of celestial twins). These 2 ex-Bourbon barrels were aged for 13 years in the tropical climate of Jamaica, before being bottled in 2020; in total, 432 bottles were yielded.
What's particularly unique about this pick is the singular marque that is used: this is one of the only bottlings of the WPM (Worthy Park Medium) marque available, and the only one of 2 bottlings of WPM in the United States (stay tuned for more on that!). It was crafted like their other rums: using 100% pot still distillation, in a pot manufactured by Forsyths.
I have really enjoyed sipping on this bottle, and can't wait to share it with you all. Let's get to sipping!
Light golden brown, high clarity, medium-light viscosity
Baked cherries, menthol, isopropyl alcohol, marzipan, warm pecans
Candied oranges, ripe banana, grilled pineapple, milk chocolate, oak, menthol
Long, moist; with menthol, bourbon oak, light smoke, and baked fruit notes
It is certainly a treat to be able to own such a special bottle like the Gemini Barrel pick. It is not only a rare marque, but also aged longer than Worthy Park's longest regular release (12 years), and it's a cask-strength double barrel to boot! Combined with the fact that this is a club pick and therefore relatively limited, I opted to grab another bottle as a backup.
Poured into the glass, the rum features a light golden brown color, not unlike a fine maple syrup. It has high clarity, and medium-light viscosity.
On the nose, you get baked cherries, menthol, a light isopropyl element, marzipan, and warm pecans. This is a bouquet unlike most other rums that I've tried, save perhaps some Saint Lucian expressions. The menthol note is particularly interesting, as it is so subtle on the nose but reemerges later, on the palate. Taking too large of a whiff will lead to a pretty pungent burn, which reminds the taster that it is a 112 proof rum.
This palate starts off with some candied oranges and ripe banana, merging into grilled pineapple, milk chocolate, and oak, then finishing with that menthol note. It's pretty interesting how this sip starts off funky, fruity, and approachable, then quickly fades into a savory blend of milk chocolate and oak, and eventually a slightly astringent menthol. Again, this cooling element is such a unique aspect of this bottle.
The finish is long and moist, with the back palate exhibiting some dry and cooling sensations as the liquid disipates. Menthol again comes back as a mouthfeel element, followed by a light smokiness and baked fruit notes, which trade off between pulses of bourbon oak warmth.
For a 112 proof Jamaican rum, this drinks remarkably smooth, and offers some fun funkiness, without being overpowering. The cooling menthol notes are particularly interesting, and piques my curiosity as to whether that is specific to the barrels this rum aged in, or if that is a feature of the WPM marque.
Overall, this bottle is truly amazing, and features a little bit of everything: savoriness, sweet fruit, airy bourbon-soaked oak, and menthol. It was a remarkable pick made by Jay Cocorullo, Broc Smith, and John Gulla of the Florida Rum Society, and makes me excited for other groups to pick fine aged Jamaican rums in the future.