Saturday, 12 January 2019

Side by side: Tomatin & GlenDronach Highland BYOs

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!

DramTomatin 2005 Cask 5128 11yoGlenDronach 2005 Cask 1441 11yo
Characteristics57.4% ABV, Natural colour, NCF, Single Cask, Cask Strength57.7% ABV, Natural colour, NCF, Single Cask, Cask Strength
Distillery infoOloroso Sherry Puncheon
My thoughts: 

Dark brown, swirls immediately form thick slow legs.

Dark gold, again thick slow legs from the swirls.
NoseTypical 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.
PalateThick, 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!
FinishWarming sherry notes and a ginger spice kickA hint or sourness comes through on the finish, still that honey and a nice spicy note.
OverallIf 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.

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