Rather than review drams by themselves I'm doing a little series comparing some 'side by side'.There may be two or more, they may be from the same or different distilleries, similar ages, ABVs and types or not as I decide!
This time we are reviewing two Highland 'Bottle Your Own' drams an Oloroso cask Tomatin and a PX cask GlenDronach - let's compare and contrast!
|Dram||Tomatin 2005 Cask 5128 11yo||GlenDronach 2005 Cask 1441 11yo|
|Characteristics||57.4% ABV, Natural colour, NCF, Single Cask, Cask Strength||57.7% ABV, Natural colour, NCF, Single Cask, Cask Strength|
|Distillery info||Oloroso||Sherry Puncheon|
|Nose||Typical sherry bomb : dunnage warehouse, old musty bookshop, strawberry jam.|
With water the fruity jam notes are enhanced.
|Toffee and honey, strawberry jam. A little fresh cut grass and delicate notes of smoke (it's not peated though).|
With water a little more smoke and honey are revealed.
|Palate||Thick, mouth coating strawberry jam that's immediately covered with bitter dark chocolate. There's a slight sour note of black cherries or prunes. Spicy bite and huge dryness. High ABV making itself felt.|
With water the dark chocolate changes to milk, the bitterness is reduced and the sour fruit notes increased.
|Again thick and mouth coating but it's like caramel in the mouth, quite sweet, no bitter or sour notes like the Tomatin. There's a milk chocolate note and a spicy bite and again lots of dryness.|
With water the milk chocolate is enhanced - it's like its in liquid form flowing over your tongue!
|Finish||Warming sherry notes and a ginger spice kick||A hint or sourness comes through on the finish, still that honey and a nice spicy note.|
|Overall||If you like your big bold sherry bomb then the Tomatin ticks all the boxes, I was expecting the Glendronach to be similar but it's entirely different. The sherry cask influence on the two drams is completely different - one the bomb, the other a more refined complex dram.|
Despite the high ABV both were nice sippers and didn't need any water added, but in the interests of a review I added a couple of drops to each but I'd suggest leaving them as they are and enjoy sipping them in front of a roaring fire on a cold Winter's evening!
It's the time of year where we start making plans of things to do and trips to make. Make sure you include a distillery or two on the list and grab a Bottle Your Own (BYO). It may not be consistent with the 'distillery character' as it's a single cask which hasn't been blended with with casks but I'm sure you'll be impressed.
Many thanks to @Mike_LittleHOM for the samples.