There’s a mural over the bar here by artist Michael Lester. It’s called Junkanoo, and it’s a vibrant, loud, pulsing depiction of Jamaica’s timeless, percussive dance.
The bar itself, named for Lester, is a celebration of the Caribbean rum tradition, with an exquisite selection of artisanal rum expressions from around the Caribbean Basin.
In just a few years, the rum bar at Jamaica’s iconic Half Moon resort vaulted into the pantheon of Caribbean rum bars, attracting connoisseurs and beginning the rum adventure for countless more visitors.
But in the last year, a new expression appeared at the bar, thanks to a rather creative partnership between Half Moon and the island’s Worthy Park distillery.
The result of the effort was an ultra-limited-edition Half Moon-exclusive Worthy Park Special Barrels Series.
“We bottled a single cask and we were able to bottle just under 400 bottles,” says Alexander Kong, commercial manager at Worthy Park.
The 14-year expression was aged in a American white oak ex-bourbon cask.
“We were very exited that Half Moon wanted to collaborate with us on that bottling,” Kong tells Rum Journal. “We’ve grown quite a strong partnership with them over the past couples of years and want to replicate that in more hotels across the island.”
And the result is rather special indeed.
The Half Moon edition has an aroma of cardamom and nectarine, with dulcet notes of pineapple and confectioner’s sugar.
The flavor profile is rich and complex: cardamom, oak, kumquat, mango; a slight hint of leather and allspice.
The rum is exceptionally balanced; even at 40 degrees it is layered and bold; unlike some expressions you find in Jamaica today, it is not overwrought; it’s drinkable, to be savored.
There is a depth here you simply don’t find in many other rums in Jamaica, where too often high esters and a relentless quest for “funkiness” can overwhelm the palate and lose the subtlety and nuance of truly great rums.
This is a Jamaican rum, but it’s something different; it has almost agricole-like character. From a single-estate rum, you can taste the Jamaican terroir.
It’s clear that Worthy Park, the oldest distillery in Jamaica, is the best rum-maker in Jamaica right now, and this Half Moon edition just might be the island’s best rum.
It’s elegant and vibrant, filled with personality but rather at home on a table at Lester’s Bar.
In other words, it’s a work of art.
Rum Journal Review