Brand: Habitation Velier
Origin: Worthy Park, Lluidas Vale, Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica
Age: 10 years
Despite Worthy Park's fame for being a centuries-old estate with rum and sugar products, the brand as we know it today is the result of a modern reboot of estate activity, led by fourth generation co-owner Gordon Clarke. In 1962, Worthy Park ceased rum production in agreement with the Jamaican Rum Pool, due to there being a surplus of Jamaican rum available on the market.
In the mid 00s, Clarke lead the effort to build a brand new distilling setup– forgoing the use of the long-shuttered historical facilities– with a focus on volume. The first distillation runs in this new facility produced bulk rum for blending houses and importer/exporters, starting in 2005. By 2007, Worthy Park had launched its Rum-Bar brand, and 10 years after that, started releasing self-branded Worthy Park Estate rums.
This Habitation Velier Worthy Park 2007 release comes from the early (modern) distillation runs back in 2007. 25 barrels of rum bearing the Worthy Park Light (WPL) marque– which has an ester range of 60-119 g/hLAA– aged on-site for 10 years in ex-Bourbon barrels, before being blended together and bottled at a strength of 59% ABV.
Habitation Velier's product page shares this interesting note about the Worthy Park 2007 release:
The first edition of Worthy Park with permission to use the name of the distillery. The first original bottling of 2007 Worth Park. A world première.
I got my bottle during the recent "rediscovery" of European stock that was sent over to the USA for distribution. After having seen a number of reviews popping up at the time, I decided to buy the bottle and try it for myself.
Orange-brown, medium clarity, low viscosity
Kiwi, overripe pineapple, banana, green apple, raspberries, sour green grapes, cinnamon
Overripe pineapple, "fake" banana flavoring, blueberries, vanilla, cinnamon
Long, fruity, funky, well-oaked; green grapes, green apples, grilled pineapple, oak, permanent marker
I think this is a beautiful rum, and I can see why so many people rave about this. The funk is plentiful, the fruit pervades the entire experience, and the oak cask maturation is present but not overdone, which is not necessarily easy to do with a decade in the tropics.
Some delicious tart/sour fruits like kiwi, green apple, and pineapple come through on the nose and palate, with the classic Worthy Park banana making an appearance. Cinnamon and vanilla compliment the fruit, lending some savory spice notes that add complexity.
Before I picked this bottle up, I didn't know what I was missing out on. This will definitely be a fun one to revisit, and compare against longer-aged Worthy Park expressions as they become available.