The Real Jamaican Rum Tour: Worthy Park Estate
Love Not Likes is something that has always appealed to me, both as an aspiring blogger and a creator. This marketing agency offers experiences to bloggers and micro-influencers to network, connect with brands, and create amazing content along the way. When they invited me on their Worthy Park Estate trip for International Rum Day it was impossible to decline (especially since it was the day before my 21st birthday).
Jamaica is known for its rum. It's one of the many things that contribute to our 'likkle but tallawah' country's global impact. Rum has been produced on our island since the 17th century and has only grown ever since. Worthy Park, AKA Rum-Bar, is Jamaica's very own 'likkle but tallawah' brand already making itself an international household name. While I was always familiar with the brand, and had even visited the estate years ago on a field trip, I was excited to learn more about the company's history and what makes them stand out. Trust me, I definitely wasn't disappointed.
Wake Up, It's Rum O'Clock: Breakfast at Cafe Dolce
On the morning of International Rum Day, the Love Not Likes group all met up at Cafe Dolce for breakfast and a quick meet and greet. As a night owl, it was a struggle for me to get there for 8 a.m. but it was worth it. I had been dying to visit Cafe Dolce for a while, but the mess that is Constant Spring construction always deterred me. Not only do I live for their aesthetic, but I had been dreaming about their menu all summer. I love breakfast food with a passion, and their B.E.L.T. (bacon, eggs, lettuce, tomato) sandwich hit the spot! Now that I have finally been, I will definitely be back soon.
While I was nervous that some of the group may have already known each other from past LNL trips, everyone was quickly welcoming. Being a group of around ten 'micro-influencers', it was comforting to be around people who 'do' what you do and share similar interests. Cafe Dolce provided the perfect atmosphere for this meet-up, and the staff was so kind and attentive. While we chatted for a bit, and took many pictures, it was finally time to board the bus to Worthy Park.
The bus ride there was spent getting to know everyone and bussing bere jokes. While I was scared I would drop asleep on the journey, it didn't feel long at all. It's the perfect drive for a quick day trip from Kingston. When the fields became more frequent, we knew that we were near.
Let's Chug It!: The Worthy Park Estate
Pulling up to the estate was nothing short of surreal. The endless acres of sugar cane looked so lush, but I could not help but think of how it would have looked only a few hundred years prior. Going into this tour, it was important for me to be conscious and remember our Caribbean History. Avoiding uncomfortable topics, such as slavery, will not erase the fact that it happened and their consequences are real. During periods of colonialism and imperialism in the West Indies, slaves were brutally forced to produce sugar on these very same plantations. Through the processing of this sugar cane, rum was a popular commodity sold profiting off of slave labour. As a visitor, I believed that recognizing this history helped me avoid any form of romanticism. Though the owners of plantations, nowadays, may not be the same as those during the times of slavery, it's important to acknowledge the experiences of those who inhabited their lands, and how their hardships brought us to where we are today.
Pulling up to the visitor's centre, there was a definite excitement in the bus even in spite of the rainy weather. The staff kindly greeted us all with umbrellas and led us inside for a complimentary drink. While I was reluctant to start drinking before noon, the rum punch definitely hit the spot and set the tone for the day.
While the Worthy Park Estate has been around since 1670, their rum production briefly seized in 1962 due to an oversupply of Jamaican Rum on the market. Their production and distribution did not resume until 2005, only 14 years ago. This means that their oldest rum has only been ageing for 14 years. As someone who grew up hearing the 'Rum-Bar CHUG IT' ads constantly on the radio, this was surprising to me. This only reiterated how strong their brand is, not only in Jamaica but across the world. To have such a strong presence in only under two decades after their reemergence on the market is aspiring.
I won't give away all of the tour's details as I truly recommend you going for yourself! It has been my favourite rum tour that I have done so far due to how immersive and informative it is. The Worthy Park Estate tour gives you a detailed guide through their distillery where you see everything from their bottling facility to their ageing warehouse. (I would definitely recommend wearing comfortable shoes as you will be walking around for a bit.) It's the perfect tour for both locals and visitors, as it feels authentic and truly Jamaican. While I was looking forward to the grand finale, AKA tasting their rums, I was so engaged in the distillery tour that I did not feel bored or like I was waiting for what was to come next.
I genuinely left the estate that day feeling like I learned many things. For example, did you know that 'Angel's Share' is a term used to measure the amount of rum that is lost during the ageing process due to evaporation? Therefore, the longer a rum ages in its barrel, the less liquid that will remain! This meant that while we toured the ageing warehouse, we *technically* could've stumbled out of there a bit tipsy from the evaporated rum...that is, if we stayed for a few more hours.
After the distillery tour, we went back to the visitor's centre to taste their rum! We were offered five selections from Rum-Bar's rum line; Rum-Bar Silver, Rum-Bar (White Overproof) Rum, Rum-Bar Gold, Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve, and Rum-Bar Rum Cream.
The tasting is way more than chugging back rum...something I guiltily did. Your tour guide teaches you everything about the differences between each rum, and how something as simple as a swirl of your glass may affect what you taste. All of these rums represented different ageing periods, alcoholic volumes, and blends. It was interesting to taste how these factors could affect the notes tasted in the rums. While I started off strong...AKA with TWO white rums, I tapped out after my fourth taste test.
The LNL Experience: AKA Blogger's Haven
At the end of the tasting, it was quite obvious that some of our heads chip. Nevertheless, we were given a mini Rum-Bar Rum to-go and a great farewell from the Worthy Park team! However, we weren't done yet. Another cool perk that the Love Not Likes team was given was being able to have a photoshoot in the estate's cane fields. Here we were able to shoot some content, both personal and for our amazing sponsors, Sun Factory Jamaica and CPJ Ltd., and cool off before heading back into town.
(Photo source: Michael Moodie)
Being able to have this opportunity was amazing, but doing it alongside the Love Not Likes team was so rewarding! As someone who busses ears...but yet is still scared to put herself out there, this trip was an amazing means to meet and get to know some fellow Jamaican bloggers. In this day and age where everyone is 'trying to make it', it's more important to emphasize collaboration in contrast to competition; and this is exactly what LNL does. It gives people the opportunity to create content, while working alongside amazing brands. Everyone was working off of each other, giving inspiration and ideas, and it was great to see how everyone's creative minds worked. It legitimizes the 'blogger experience' in Jamaica, something that I often feel side-eyed for pursuing. This definitely won't be the last time I will be meeting up with the LNL family, as it is an initiative that I fully support and 100% believe that Jamaica needs. Make sure to check out Love Not Likes and show them some love! All of this would not be possible without them.
If you are interested in touring the Worthy Park Estate, you can find more information about their guided tours on their website! Tours are $20 USD for Residents, and $25 USD for Visitors. Don't miss out on this!