Rum Review : Rasta Morris Jamaica 2010 9y

We’re almost there with this slew of Rasta Morris reviews. Now we’re onto my most anticipated rum, the Jamaica 2010. The next one will be Bert Bruyneel’s favourite: the Bielle 2009. 

But for now, let’s go to Jamaica. More specifically to a distillery near the Lluidas Vale. What mysterious distillery could this be? Who knows? Could it be the one that rhymes with Timothy Clark? Which is absolutely not a person I just made up… 

Obviously, we’re talking about Worthy Park. A distillery which over the last couple of months has become my favourite. Why? Well, They’re funky without shouting in your face. The rum is incredibly well-balanced between the cream, chocolate and the fruity funkiness. Hence the distillery’s become one of my main sippers. 

This one certainly won’t, at 64.4% ABV, I won’t drink this regularly. No, I’ll drink it occasionally and cautiously… But I’ll definitely enjoy the hell out of it. I hope. This WP was distilled in 2010, tropically aged until 2015 and then shipped to Europe for further ageing and eventually, the rum was bottled in 2019.

Let’s see what this’ll bring.

Colour:

Light golden

Nose:

The initial nose has the components previously mentioned. The majority of the nose is funk though, with an underlying bed of milk chocolate and a tiny amount of cream. The fruitiness pops here. I almost recognize some Hampden Here if I’m really focusing on the specific Pineapple and Banana notes. Luckily this rum is set apart by its aforementioned “thicker” scents and some more fresh fruits, such as peaches and some more fresh tropical fruits.

Taste:

At 64.4% this is a beast. This rum is giving me shivers down my spine, in a very good slightly arousing way. There’s the initial heat of alcohol and spice, which kindly gets replaced by a bit of chocolate (now darker) and a very intense baked fruit-fest. 

The fruitiness takes a back-seat for most of the tasting experience, with the darker and spicier flavours taking the wheel. Lots of toasted nuts, wood and leather and cigars. Some baked fruits can be found when looked for, but they’re much less present than in the nose. 

Finish: 

The Finish is long, thanks to its intensity and spiciness. A small bit of the regular funk lingers but is overshadowed by these spicy, woody and leathery notes. 

This is a unique bit of Worthy Pa… Uhm sorry, secret Lluidas Vale Jamaican Rum. It’s much less fresh and fruity than what I’m normally used to. Which shouldn’t be a surprise as this is a 9-year-old Jamaican rum. This means that the tropical hit of the unaged rum will subside and mellow down by the cask and the flavours will be replaced in no small part by said cask. The high ABV also makes it that much more intense. So, as a single cask from an independent bottler, I’d say this is a successful one and it’s clear that a whisky-focused person chose this. Giving the customer a broader palate of their beloved distillery. I find it slightly better than the Single Estate because the added complexity, spices and ABV just outweigh the slight loss of funk.

9/10

Review #15: Bar Ran’s funky juice

The first of many?

Here we are with a very special bottle (to me anyways). Today’s review will be the funkiest juice bottled by the funkiest man I know. Bar Ran’s funky juice.

Okay, so for anyone who’s not really into the cocktail scene or Belgian bar scene; let me explain.

Ran Van Ongevalle is one of the best (if not the best bartenders) in Belgium, Europe and the world. In 2017 he won Bacardi Legacy with his cocktail Clarita. He was co-owner of The Pharmacy Knokke and worked in The Artesian in London; after which he opened his own summer pop-up ‘Palo Cortado’ in 2019, which was so successful it was extended into the winter. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic he opened his permanent Bar: Bar Ran. I do wonder how he got the inspiration for the name.

Full disclosure, I worked with or for him for a couple of years, but since I’m not on his payroll anymore, I can say whatever the hell I want.

The summer of 2020 was a hot one, which means it was perfect to make buttloads of daiquiris. With rums ranging from Rum Fire and Savannah HERR (of which we sold out one whole bottle in 2 hours) to foursquare Sagacity and even Velier Royal Navy Tiger Shark and so much more, it’s safe to say we made a LOT of daiquiris.

After a summer full of daiquiris, during the second Covid-wave and the lockdown, Ran decided to bottle his own rum. So people could take a bit of Bar Ran’s identity home with them.

The rum chosen for this special bottling hails from the Lluidas Vale and it possesses the WPE marque… now that we all know what distillery the rum is from, we can all set our expectations astronomically high. The juice is unaged and bottled at 63% and it clocks in at an ester count of 393.11g/HLPA . The bottling is a collaboration between 1423.dk (Denmark), The Nectar (Belgium) and Bar Ran (Belgium). And only 132 bottles have been produced.

All bottles have already sold out, so you won’t be able to grab one. Though visiting the bar might enable you to try it, the way you should. With a crazy show by the man himself.

Enough talking, let’s see if the rum is any good. I’m going to try it neat and in a daiquiri (because wintertime and 2°c is a great time to drink daiquiri’s, shut up Karen)


Colour:

As transparent as the Black Tot 50th anniversary back label.

Nose:

Nail polisher and paint remover, the first nosing will burn those pesky nosehairs straight off. Forget a nose trimmer, this’ll do the trick. It’s so outrageously in your face and revolting. I think I’m in love.

But all kidding aside. The first nosing is pretty hefty. The chemical top notes are overly present at first. they do settle down and make way for a more buttery nose which is much more pleasant

Taste:

The aggressive fucker comes in swinging with its full 63% 393.11g/HLPA bodyweight.  But he subsides pretty fast to make place for a somewhat more complex (yet still not docile) palate. I get a bit of dark chocolate with some chili. This chili transforms into hot wings (I guess this’ll be great with Jamaican Jerk chicken). The meatiness extends in a fairly thick and chewy texture.

Another flavour I get is one of distilling malt whisky or Poitín, the malty qualities add another interesting and unexpected layer.

Finish:

The finish is medium-long . And it does a proper good job at warming my insides. Boy oh boy, I know what I’m going to add a smidge of in my egg nog this Christmas.

A warm pure chocolate taste stays a bit. Accompanied by a longer lasting peppery note.


As a sipping rum, I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. don’t get me wrong, its a cool experience to get to know the more extreme sides of our totally unknown Lluidas Vale distillery. But it’s not something to be drunk on a weekday after a long day at work, think more of a pre-drink before a techno rave to get those freak-juices flowing.

As a daiquiri (60ml Funky Juice, 30ml lime, 2 barspoons crystallized sugar) it does not disappoint. The aggressiveness is toned down by the lime and sugar to a nice balance of punch and freshness. This transports you to a summery beach in Jamaica. As a whole it still packs a punch, but it’s less disruptive and more fun as a cocktail. I do have to admit, the Veritas is still better

As a drinking rum

6/10

As a Daiquiri

7/10

Overall

6.5/10

Review #5: Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve

“the perfect blend between the past and the future”

We’re staying in Jamaica for this one. As I’ll be tasting the Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve. This is the standard rum for the distillery under this name. as with Hampden they already had a range of white overproof rum. The rum-bar range, which I can attest to as being absolutely wonderful and my choice as prevention medicine against the current coronavirus. WP also produces a rum-bar rum cream, which I haven’t tasted yet. I imagine it to be like Baileys but from heaven instead of from Ireland.

This is the first and main rum bottled and exported by the distillery themselves under the “Worthy Park” name. before, again, as with Hampden this could pretty much only be found in expressions by independent bottlers, the most familiar one being Velier.

But in 2017-2018 depending on where you live, you could start enjoying Worthy Park’s very own “Estate Distilled, Aged, Blended & Bottled” rum as the label so classily states.

Now seems like a good time as any to give a short history on the Distillery and the sugar estate that made this rum possible.

The estate can be traced back to 1670; this is the year that’s prominently readable on the label.

However, this is not when rum distillation started, or even when sugar production started. This is the year when (according to the WP website) “It was gifted to Lt. Francis Price for his services to Cromwell during the English capture of the island from the Spanish in 1655.” 50 years later sugar cane production began and after about another 20 years rum production started. All was pretty much sunshine and rainbows.

The 1960’s brought some clouds and rain however, due to an oversupply of Jamaican rum and some other political reasons, Worthy Park stopped distilling rum for a while. This obligatory narrowing of attention may have been a blessing in disguise (though it may be completely unrelated) because since 1968 the sugar estate has been the most efficient of the island every year.

If you’re interested in some of the general numbers check out the WP website again.

However efficient the sugar plantation and high the quality of the sugar may be, it doesn’t quite make up for the loss of rum. Lucky for us, the Clarke family wanted to introduce the world to a rum that’s been made with high-quality molasses. So they decided to start distilling again in 2004. Construction for a brand new distillery that could manage to produce very efficiently and produce a wide array of rum expressions. The main man behind this future- and efficiency focused endeavor is Mr. Gordon Clarke, the managing director and CEO of the estate. Construction of this state-of-the-art distillery started in 2005 and by 2007 distillation started again (hopefully for ever). BACK IN BUSINESS BABY!!!

The background is now set for their first expression under the Worthy Park name. And Mr. Clarke did it right. First in 2015 he hired Alexander ‘Zan’ Kong to be export sales manager, he took this role and turned himself into an absolute rum Rockstar. Oh, if only I could be like Zan…. And later the Single State Reserve was released.

The fermentation and distillation process in Worthy Park is unlike some of the other well-loved Jamaican rums. For starters, they don’t use muck or dunder for fermentation, they do use a cultivated yeast-strain that makes sure of a consistent product.

As mentioned before their distillery is very modern contrary to most distilleries on the Island. This should make for an interesting look at the difference between a “muck-infested”wild  fermentation and a old time-y distillation like in Hampden or Long Pond and a well-managed and monitored process like in Worthy Park.

There’s no need to fear that WP is too modern. With over 200 years of rum-making heritage and the use of their homegrown sugarcane A-grade molasses, this should be a perfect blend between the past and the future and a staple of Jamaican distilling for years to come.

Finally, to round of the information about this rum. It’s said that it has a WPL (worthy Park Light) marque, which is 60-119 gr/hl AA in esters. It’s a blend of rums from 6-10 years and it’s bottled at 45% ABV

Okay, enough babbling, let’s get tasting


Colour:

Natural golden colour, quite light and somewhat radiant.

Nose:

The nose is very light and very fruity. Mostly dry fruits, plums and some not-quite-ripe-yet bananas. After a little while I get some coconut accompanied with some caramel and vanilla. Overall, the smell is quite strong, with a bit of an alcoholic whiff. Very attractive in the beginning, but it doesn’t really evolve much. This is probably due to the lower ester count. It’s a very accessible nose, but not one that evolves throughout hours.

Taste:

At first the taste is the same as the nose, light and accessible. Very pleasant actually. A real crispy note of tropical fruits overtakes me. It’s like sitting on a Jamaican great house front porch, eating an assortment of freshly picked fruit and suddenly a refreshing breeze passes by and you know… life is good.

A little alcoholic flavour does wriggle its way through the fruit from time to time. After a couple of sips I got used to the fruity bouquet and the darker flavours started popping up. The easiest to discern is an oaky bitterness, not overpowering or disturbing but noticeable and pleasant enough to give the rum some depth. Along with the oak, I get the classic caramel and vanilla.

Finish:

The finish is something quite interesting. When I swallow the rum some pepper tickles my tongue and a bit of ginger stays in my throat. With other rums this spiciness also presents itself in the mouth with a sip, but with the Worthy Park the spice is saved for the end. This is a nice surprise as I expected the finish to be a bit dull and really short (with it being full of light, fleeting  flavours). However, the finish is medium-long and medium interesting. Again it’s nothing like the high-ester bombs that make Jamaica so famous. Worthy Park doesn’t really strive for this (in this bottling at least) and that is understandable.


To conclude, this is a great stepping stone into Jamaican rum. As it has the fruity notes that we all love in Jamaican rum. It’s a great rum for sitting and just enjoying, without having the fuzz of really putting work into getting every aspect of it.

A (in my opinion) good analogy is this: if Hampden are The Rolling Stones, Worthy Park are The Beatles. Instead of painting it black and having sympathy for the devil, Worthy Park will come together and hold your hand. Either way they’re both amazing in their own right.

8.5/10