Forsyths Double Retort Pot Still
6-10 years in American white oak, ex-bourbon casks
Alcohol by volume:
Jamaica has a special place on the rum map of the world: thanks to its history and tradition, craftsmanship, reputation and prestige, finally a dedicated group of admirers and a growing wave of popularity.
The Jamaican style is distinguished by a complex bouquet coming from high oesters concentration. This is due to yeast selection, longer fermentation, use of dunder or muck pits. Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve breaks this pattern a bit, as it's made entirely of low-ester WPL marque. It doesn't matter though; it's still a full-fledged and thoroughly Jamaican product.
Historically, rum was distilled at Worthy Park between 1741 and 1962. The company was reactivated in 2005 as Gordon Clarke (family in the fourth generation) took over the reins. Two years later its own brand Rum-Bar was launched aiming for the home market. The large players (like E&A Scheer and Bacardi) and independent bottlers (like Velier, Compagnie des Indes or Bristol Spirits) bought willingly the young bulk rum. Some barrels were carefully preserved though. I appreciate that foresight: trade financing current activities, at the same time building reputation and successive preparation for the debut of own premium brand Worthy Park; with the flagship Single Estate Reserve (2017).
However, the Worthy Park key activity is sugar production, continuously since 1720. The manufacturer achieves the highest efficiency in the country: one ton of sugar from nine tons of sugar cane. This efficiency has been sustained for over fifty years. As is widely known, molasses is a sugar production by-product. Worthy Park uses its own and hence the brand name: Single Estate.
Basically we refer here to an imprecise, non-codified term being inevitably vulnerable to interpretation or modification. So let's use a descriptive synonym, kind of visually appealing 'field-to-bottle' assigning a raw material, terroir and the entire production process to one company operating in a specific location. Simple and clear, at least in theory. Getting lost might be easier than you think, though. Just take a look.
Peter McConnell - a long-time manager at Worthy Park - tried for years to take over more and more sugarcane plantations to benefit from economies of scale. Hence Worthy Park leases Caymanas government and Tulloch private land and grows its own in Lluidas Vale and Enfield. They generate altogether up to 55% of sugar cane. The rest comes from local two thousand independent farmers. To a large degree Worthy Park doesn’t own plantages from which rum comes and it could be argued if it’s entitled for ‘single estate’ description. Being to precise leads to silly deliberations, see? Worthy Park produces 7,000 tons of molasses per year; half uses for its own purposes and to our delight, the other half sells to Spirits Pool Association Ltd.
Worthy Park spreads wings and undoubtedly needs the strong partner's support. A local tycoon, Wisynco Group manages the distribution channels. Its CEO, William Mahfood, doesn’t like the public awareness campaign 'Are You Drinking Yourself Sick'. He feels offended if somebody counts the number of sugar cubes contained in the flagship drink CranWata. Mahfood says that Wisynco has invested "hundreds of millions of dollars" to promote CranWata, hence you can’t defame. Furthermore rejects “the claim that sugar causes obesity“ and encourages “individuals to educate themselves about their own health and relationship to sugar.”
The mentioned thread has something to do with definitions, clues, scientific research (where results correlate with clients convictions), sugary drinks tax, media involvement (just don’t make advertisers angry), defending the interests (corporate and social). With David, Goliath, and decency.
The sugar season in Jamaica lasts from January through the end of June. The cane workers use mainly machete (15% mechanical harvesters). The sugar factory transforms raw material into brown sugar, dark molasses and bagasse - a biofuel driving steam turbines and ensuring producer's energy self-sufficiency (power failures are frequent in Jamaica).
Single Estate Reserve is made entirely of light pot WPL marque (60-119 g/laa), preceded by a 30-hour fermentation at a controlled temperature of 30° C using a proprietary yeast strain. 100% copper pot-still Forsyths twin / double retorts. Dunder spread over the fields as fertilizer.
There is no age statement on the front, though the back label reveals an aging range between 6 and 10 years. Rum thinned to 70% abv before filling into American white oak barrels (after Jack Daniel's). Aging in St Catherine with angel's share 4-6%.