Having just learned a bit about categories of gin, I thought I’d do a quick comparison and share what I’ve learned.
There are several legal categories that vary depending on the country of origin and how the spirit is made. London gin, dry gin, Plymouth gin (a category with exactly one brand), and Old Tom among some other less common groups.
Tonight I compared Plymouth with a Colorado-made Old Tom. They’re very different. The Plymouth could be reasonably called dry, and I couldn’t make out the juniper. I almost wanted to compare with vodka – it’s pretty boozy. The Spring 44 Old Tom was just a little sweet, had a noticeable juniper flavor, and a distinctive burnished yellow color. It’s not quite a liqueur (too strong), but suggests it.
No wonder the Martini I made the other day was so different! Clearly there is a place for each – if you want to highlight the other flavors, use a dry or Plymouth. If you want a strong flavor from the gin, use an Old Tom.