Crumpton Oaks – Apple Cider – Reviewed

Producer:  Crumpton Oaks http://crumptonoaks.co.uk
Cider Name: Apple Cider
Region: Malvern Hills
ABV:5
Taste: Medium
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Fruity Apple
Colour: Golden Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Our award winning crisp and refreshing golden apple cider. Full of fruity flavour from the finest bittersweet apples harvested from our orchard family and balanced with dessert apples for a perfect medium taste and crisp finish.”

This is the cheapest cider that has been tasted and reviewed though in some areas it punches above it’s weight.  Aroma is nice enough, it has a nice golden amber colour and the taste is pleasant though won’t set the world on fire.  Though it is cheap for a reason and the biggest reason is that the added sugar and sweeteners are very evident and whilst providing a level of sweetness, it is not the fresh, pleasant sweetness provided by the more natural apple sweetness present in some more expensive ciders.

Verdict:

For 85p for the bottle, you can forgive this cider for some faults.  The aroma is nice, it tastes pleasant enough and you could enjoy a few of these on the kind of hot day being experienced as this is being written.  In terms of those faults, the added sugars and sweeteners are very evident in the taste and after-taste as you are left with a sugary coating in your mouth.  It is also on the watery side and whilst sweet, this is from the added sugars and sweetener which over power the actual apples.

Rating: This is a Good Cider in the category (Mainstream cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Ross-on-Wye – Foxwhelp – Reviewed

Producer:  Ross-on-Wye http://rosscider.com
Cider Name: Fowhelp (2021 – Pressed 2019)
Region: Herefordshire
ABV:6.0
Taste: Bittersharp and Acidic
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Fruity, citrus
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Foxwhelp must surely be the most iconic cider apple: a lovely fruity aroma leads immediately into a burst of acidity that has sharpness, intensity and depth like no other variety can offer.”

This is not for the faint-hearted at all. Imagine you are sucking on an alcoholic lemon that tastes of apples…that’s Foxwhelp!

In our opinion, Ross sets the standard for single variety cider and perry. Foxwhelp looks fabulous in the glass: golden and clear with a buttery shine. The aroma is mostly fruity, a little phenolic, and a little citrus.

On the palate, Foxwhelp is like no other. Upfront bittersharp turns to sour acidity on the tongue leaving a lemony aftertaste that lingers pleasantly for an age.

Verdict:

This is an extremely challenging cider for most but highly rewarding for those who can rise to the challenge at least once to appreciate the complexity, intensity, and acidity of this iconic apple.

Rating: This is a Good Cider in the category (Craft Cider SV)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Cranbourne Chase – The Whitewigs – Reviewed

Producer:  Cranbourne Chase Cider http://www.cranbournechasecider.co.uk
Cider Name: The Whitewigs
Region: Dorset
ABV:6.0
Taste: Sweet
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Sweet Apple
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Enriched by our own Dorset Apples, our crafted ciders reveal delightful, refreshing fruitiness, coldly fermented exposing their natural yeast and sugars.”

Sweet apples greet you as you open the bottle and this aroma remains as it settles into the glass.  However, the sweet apples are not evident in the taste which, whilst refreshing, is quite watery.  It is clear the sugars are present, not so much in the taste which has a faint sweetness, much more so in the aftertaste.

Verdict:

This is an easy-drinking, clean, crisp cider with a small hit of sweetness.  It lacks depth, as there is little apple fruitiness to be found, having more in common with a weak apple cordial.  It also leaves a sugary aftertaste that coats your teeth and mouth.

Rating: This is a Good Cider in the category (Craft cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Gwatkin – Game Cock Cider – Reviewed

Producer:  Gwatkin https://gwatkincider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Game Cock Cider
Region: Herefordshire
ABV:4.5
Taste: Sweet
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Sweet Apple
Colour: Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still

Review / Tasting notes

“The game cock cider, like the bird, is handy and dauntless in character and won’t take long to rustle your feathers.  Your only instinct is to try the plucky sweet cider that mates well with the game of the land.”

Aroma of sweet, mellow apples will gently glide your way as you pour this into your glass.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that whilst the sweet apples get top billing, this cider is a little more complex with a touch of honey giving way to cinnamon spiciness.

Verdict:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and you won’t be disappointed to have this as your cider in hand.  It is a rather pheasant, sweet, still cider with a nice hit of warm, woody spice nesting in the taste.

Rating: This is a Very Good Cider in the category (Craft cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Sam’s Cider – Poundhouse Crisp – Reviewed

Producer: The Winkleigh Cider Company https://winkleighcider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Sam’s Cider – Poundhouse Crisp
Region: Devon
ABV: 4.5%
Taste: Medium Sweet
Served: 500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Rich Apples
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Gently Sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes

“Our Sam’s Poundhouse Cider is a clean and crisp refreshing cider.  A real thirst quencher.  Made using only locally sourced Devon apples.  Fermented and matured in our 100-year-old oak vats.”

Poundhouse Crisp is a very good description for this cider.  Straight away you are hit with the crisp smell of rich apples followed by a clean, crisp taste which gently fades leaving a pleasantly sweet aftertaste after a hit of acidity.

Verdict

Clean.  Tick.  Crisp. Tick.  Refreshing. Tick. This cider provides the same sensation in your mouth as your body experiences when climbing into a bed with a fresh, clean, crisp set of new sheets on it.  If there is one minor fault, it is that the sensation does not last as long as you would like [like Stefan’s clean sheets! – Ed.].

Rating: This is a good cider in the category (Regional Cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Malvern Cider Co. – Malvern Gold – Reviewed

Producer:  Malvern Cider Co https://www.astonmanor.co.uk/products/malvern-cider-co/
Cider Name: Malvern Gold Medium Dry Herefordshire Cider
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV: 6.0%
Taste:  Medium Dry
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Apple, Hint of Straw
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still Cider

Review / Tasting notes

“Grown in the shadow of the Hereford and Worcestershire Hills, blended bittersweet apples including Three Countries, Yarlington Mill, and Dabinett.  Taste is achieved without artificial colourings, flavourings or sweeteners”

This advertises itself as a medium dry cider though the first element to the fore is a nice, though brief, sweet taste before a quite mild dry finish forms in the mouth.  The dry side has a hint of smoke and oak which is quite morish whilst it lasts.

Verdict:

The Malvern Hills are famous for their water and Malvern also has a luxury spa.  Whilst this cider may not reach the famous heights of the water, it deserves some spotlight in the cider world and you would not be overly disappointed if you were served this at the luxury spa. Very smooth, with a hit of sweetness before a pleasantly dry finish.  The main fault is that the dry finish disperses all too soon.

Rating: This is a good cider in the category mainstream cider

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Henry Westons – Cloudy Vintage Medium Dry – Review

Producer: Henry Westons http://westons-cider.co.uk
Cider Name: Cloudy Vintage Medium Dry
Region: Herefordshire, UK 
ABV: 7.3% 
Taste: Medium Dry
Served: 500ml Bottle (Chilled) 
Smell: Fresh and Fruity
Colour: Dark Amber
Clarity: Lightly Hazy and Golden
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: (Mainstream Apple Cider)

Review / Tasting notes:

“Slowly matured, spending time in oak vats in Herefordshire to deliver a sparkling, fruity & full-bodied cider”

Popping the lid on this cloudy cider instantly reveals a pleasant fruity apple aroma.  The aroma though gives more fruity apple than the taste which provides only a faint hint of apple before quickly giving way to a dry finish.  A dry finish which is on the side of full rather than medium. 

Verdict:

A stratus cloud is flat, layered, and smooth whereas this Henry Westons cloudy cider is lightly sparkling, slightly fruity, and dry.  The lack of slightly more fruity apple in the taste, which the aroma points to, is a real shame and stops this cider from scoring more highly.

Rating: This is a Good Cider in the category (Mainstream Apple Cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Simon’s Cider – Barton Perry – Reviewed

Producer: Simon’s Cider http://simonscider.co.uk
Cider Name: Barton Perry
Region: Cambridgeshire, UK 
ABV: 6.5% 
Taste: Dry, Pear
Served: Room Temp 
Smell: Pear
Colour: Cream – pear flesh
Clarity: Cloudy 
Carbonation: Still
Award Category: (Craft Perry)

Review/Tasting Notes:

“Dry Perry with a 50:50 blend of Wilding Perry and Conference pears”

Barton Perry from Simon’s Cider is an interesting blend with a full-on pear aroma. Acidity and sharpness dominate the balance of this perry but perhaps a little too much for some.

A dry perry is certainly an acquired taste and this may not be for everybody. The strong acidity makes this a little vinegary and less enjoyable for us, as a result.

The aftertaste is the main redeeming quality of this perry. The pear flavour lingers way beyond the expected time and it feels like you’ve just sucked on a whole bag of pear drops and sour sweets.

Verdict: Not for everybody. If you enjoy malic cider then this Perry might be for you.

Rating: This is a good cider in the category (Craft Perry)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Sxollie – Granny Smith – Reviewed

“Made in a wine style- crisp, tart and refreshing apple cider with a crunchy acidity”

Tasting notes:

Granny Smith cider is an extremely tart and sweet cider with a sharp and tangy crisp aftertaste. Although this modern cider lacks the depth and complexity of a traditional cider, it has plenty to offer in the modern urban context. Similar to the other Sxollie ciders, this is transparent in the glass. Granny Smith has plenty of acidity and sweetness but these are not balanced particularly well.

Verdict: This is not a cider for the traditionalists. Made using champagne yeast, this cider is best sampled at the dinner table, perhaps alongside fish or salad.

Rating: This is a good cider (just)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Sxollie – Golden Delicious – Reviewed

Producer: Sxollie https://sxolliecider.com
Cider Name: Golden Delicious
Region: South Africa
ABV: 4.5%
Taste: Sharp, apple
Served: 500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Fresh apple
Colour: Light straw
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Slightly Sparkling
Award Category: Mainstream cider

Review/Tasting Notes

“Made in a wine style –  a unique cider that gives you natural floral sweetness, subtle yeastiness and sour tropical fruit notes.”

A sharp and fruity taste up front gives way to a sweet and refreshing cider. Although this lacks in depth, body and complexity, it could be argued that the intention behind this cider is for it to be drunk alongside good food. The colour is lacking as this is almost transparent in the glass.

Verdict:

An enjoyable and likeable cider but not one for the purists. This could be a great alongside a nice spicy dish.

Rating: This is a good cider (Mainstream cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)