IF you’ve been longing to experience the Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour, look out for discounts in January.
Nestled in the hills of Lluidas Vale, St Catherine, Worthy Park Estate is the grand old lady of rum distilleries in the Caribbean. A visit is rich with first-hand information on the unique complexity involved in producing one of Jamaica’s finest rums.
Rum lovers and adventure seekers will enjoy exploring the bar lounge stacked with many of their favourites being sold at affordable prices. There’s also a chance for a close-up look at a state-of-the-art distillery while an informative tour guide takes you on a tour of the 350-year-old estate.
The 90-minute-long experience is a journey through the process of fermenting, distilling and aging rum; a tour of the operations and, of course, a chance to sample the estate’s famous product.
During our recent visit we were greeted by the sweet scent of processed sugar cane wafting through the air, setting the tone for the experience. The drive to the Worthy Park Visitors’ Centre is an experience itself as the historic buildings and landmarks are a quaint reminder of what existed three centuries ago.
At the centre, a fresh-faced staff member goes through established COVID-19 protocols put in place to ensure everyone stays safe. We were then introduced to an engaging and informative tour supervisor, Shunna-Gay Mitchell.
Before setting off on our tour of the 10,000-acre property, we were enticed into have a “light cocktail” at the bar. For most among the group of locals and visitors, a rum punch was the preferred choice, but rum connoisseurs can opt for something stronger. Once settled in, we were taken on a virtual tour of the sugar plantation, then it was time for a brief demonstration of how the juice is extracted from sugar cane. In addition to a sip of freshly squeezed juice, this also included a taste of the molasses used in rum production. At this point, our senses were fully stimulated by the sights, sounds, flavours and aromas involved in 100 per cent craft-distilled rum production.
And just when we thought we’d seen enough, it was time for a tour of the state-of-the-art distillery, ageing warehouse, and bottling facility. This began with a two-minute drive across the estate through the mountainous and plush green terrain. Our first stop was the distillery to experience first-hand the rum production process that involves fermentation of the molasses. The distillery is one of the newest on the island, and during the tour visitors get to witness the behind the scenes activities involved in bringing us some of Jamaica’s best-tasting rum.
The aging warehouse captures the true essence of Worthy Park’s history in a bottle, with rums that have been perfectly blended and stored in oak barrels for six to 10 years. This allows for the blends to mature to perfection.
With the tour of the distillery and aging warehouse complete, it was back to the visitors’ centre for the highlight of the day — rum tasting! We were offered samples of five rums that are a part of Worthy Park’s award-winning portfolio. Each sip delivered a blend of aged excellence, longevity, hard work and a passion for creating Jamaica’s finest rum.
Managing Director Gordon Clarke is proud of the estate’s investment in rum production over the last two decades and the products and services that now exist as a result.
“We have always made sugar but in 2005 we built a brand new distillery, and our first product was Rum Bar. Our second product was White Overproof Rum and we had Rum Bar Rum Cream and Rum Bar Vodka, and Rum Bar Gold Rum; and now we are able to conduct rum tours,” he said.
We were certainly impressed during our tour – and it appears we’re not the only ones. Tour supervisor, Shunna Gay Mitchell says they often receive rave reviews about the overall tour experience.
When you go, be sure to pop into the gift shop to pick up a few goodies for your friends who weren’t lucky enough to join you on the tour.
- How far: 50 minutes from Kingston or Ocho Rios
- Tour time: 90 minutes
- Note: Reservations needed, must be 18 and over to tour, closed on public holidays
- To book: email@example.com or call (876) 279-7421
TEXT & PHOTOS BY NIKEL INNERARITY