Two rums by The Duchess: Worthy Park (Jamaica) and Diamond (Guyana)

I’ve had these samples for a while but for some reason sitting down and reviewing them hadn’t happened yet. A shame, but let’s do a bit of catch-up!


Diamond Distillery 17yo, 2003-2020, 59.3% – The Duchess (Hummingbirds)

A little bit of research tells us that Diamond Distillery is an interesting one. They approach things quite differently from scotch whisky, and in some ways more in an American way.

For starters, they cultivate their own yeast instead of buying commercial stuff. I like this, and while it’s common in bourbon distilling, it’s a rarity in Scotland.

Also, when a lot of other distilleries in Guyana closed their doors, Diamond bought their stills. The result is that they have nine different stills at the distillery: 3 English two-column coffee stills, 2 French Savalle four-column stills and, perhaps most interestingly, 3 wooden stills, one of each: Versailles, Port Mourant and Enmore. The first two of these are pot stills and the enmore is another Coffey still.

While this results in some cool products and the option for the distillery to produce a wide range of products, it also makes output from Diamond Distillery quite unpredictable. If you like one release, as a casual rum drinker, you might have something completely different the next time around. And, on the label of this 17 year old rum, the type of still used is not on the label.

Sniff:
Funky distillate, overripe fruit. The outside of a pineapple, whatever that’s called. Peel? Skin? Shell? Acidic and fruity, simple syrup, cocktail bitters.

Sip:
The crisp and slightly bitter spicyness is here too. Grilled pineapple, with its skin. Oak, sugarcane, sugar.

Swallow:
The finish brings some molasses and sugarcane juice. Some burnt sugar, palm leaves, coconut.

I’m having a hard time describing this rum. There are some weird and deliciously funky flavors manifesting, but I find it hard to pin them down. What I do know is that I really like this one, and it’s quite different than what I expected. It wouldn’t surprise me if this came from one of those wooden stills, although I would put my money on the Enmore Coffey still instead of the pot stills.

EDIT: I was wrong, it’s from the Versailles still. So a distillate from a wooden pot still!

89/100

Still available from Best of Wines for € 92


Worthy Park Distillery 14, 2006-2020, 56.8% – The Duchess (Hummingbirds)

While the brand ‘Worthy Park’ goes back to 1720, the current rum distillery on the premises only started production in 2005. It’s quite a modern plant compared to what you (I, at least) generally expect when talking about rum production.

They stopped producing rum in 1962 because of over production and far less consumption since World War 2.

The style of distillation is a lot closer to how Scotland distills its whiskies with the copper pot still being from Forsyths in Rothes, Scotland. The estate is run by the Clarke family since 1918.

Sniff:
Intense with lots of sweetness. Sugarcane with other vegetal hints. Burnt sugar, with quite some oak too.

Sip:
The palate is a bit more thin than I expected. There’s peppery heat and dry oak. Sugarcane, vegetables, red paprika, caramel.

Swallow:
The finish is a bit more typical, but also has strong coffee treacle, molasses.

This too is an interesting drink. It’s a bit inconsistent with the vegetal notes on the nose and palate, changing gears into coffee treacle on the finish. It’s a different take on rum, once again.

What I like is that the sweetness of the nose isn’t directly present on the palate, because that might have been a bit much.

87/100

Available from Best of Wines for € 68

Both samples were kindly provided by The Duchess. Much obliged!

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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