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)

Pilton Cider – Tamoshanta – Reviewed

Producer:  Pilton Cider http://www.piltoncider.com
Cider Name: Tamoshanta
Region: Somerset
ABV:4.7
Taste: Medium sweet and smokey with a whiskey and charcoal infusion
Served:  750ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Smokey, Fruity, vanilla
Colour: Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“A fruity keeved cider, partially fermented in oak barrels.”

This cider takes its name from the epic poem Tam o’ Shanter by Robert Burns, as on Burns Night, the young keeved cider is transferred to Scotch whisky barrels to finish and mature.

In the poem, Tam journeys home on his horse in a storm after a long drinking session to face the wrath of his disapproving wife, Kate, “Gathering her brows like gathering storm, nursing her wrath to keep it warm.”

I’m sure many of us have experienced that particular scenario…no…just me then!

Pilton’s Tamoshanta is a wonderfully presented cider: amber in colour and as clear as spring water. On the nose, there are notes of smoke and vanilla alongside lots of fresh apples.

The taste is clean and crisp before the smoke and tannins add body. Like Burn’s epic poem, this cider has depth; the Scotch Whisky barrel fermentation really works. I’m sure that Tam would have approved.

In the last stanza of the poem, Burns warns his readers to think carefully before turning to drink and women with short skirts…what does he know anyway?

Verdict:

This is an easy-drinking, clean, crisp cider with plenty of smokey depth. At 4.7%, a 750ml bottle is perfect for two on a summer evening.

Rating: This is a Cider of great Merit in the category (Craft cider)

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

Skyborry – Pommage – Reviewed

Producer:  Skyborry Cider & Perry
Cider Name: Pommage 2019
Region: Powys
ABV:5.0%
Taste: Medium Sweet
Served:  375ml Bottle Room Temperature
Smell: Fresh Apples
Colour: Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Fruit from the main cider orchard harvested at Hawkswood Farm: a short distance from the town of Hay on Wye on the Welsh border. Stoke Red (bitter sharp), Kingston Black (bittersharp), Bulmer’s Norman (bittersweet), Chisel Jersey, and Dabinett (both bittersweet) were blended throughout the pressing season.”

This is vintage 2019 Medium Sweet cider produced in limited numbers, which is a blessing if you can find a bottle, and a curse if you can not, as it is a real treat.  The aroma of fresh, ripe apples – which have been expertly blended – gives a lovely, smooth, sweet taste that you will not get bored of in a hurry.

Verdict:

Never judge a book by its cover and never judge this cider by its bottle.  The bottle itself, only giving the basic information, belies the delights within.  This is an extremely moorish, beautifully balanced, crisp, clean, refreshing cider with just the right hint of sweetness.  It smells and tastes great and well worth finding those extra pennies for, as you won’t be disappointed.

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

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

Artistraw Cider – Across the Shrewniverse – Reviewed

Producer:  Artistraw Cider http://www.artistraw.co.uk/cider
Cider Name: Across the Shrewniverse (2019 Dry)
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV:6.0%
Taste: Bitter and woody finish, Fruity, Clove, Oak, Smoky
Served:  375ml Bottle Room Temperature
Smell: Fruity Apple, Fragrant, Grass, Grapefruit
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Hazy
Carbonation: Naturally Sparkling – Pet-Nat

Review / Tasting notes

“Across the Shrewniverse’ is a blend of handpicked fruit from a beautiful traditional standard orchard in the Grey Valley in Herefordshire. Wild fermented, this dry, unpasteurised, unfiltered and naturally sparkling cider beautifully compliment smoked cheese. Cosmic sparkles propel stellar flavour supernovae into the olfactory black hole before eclipsing towards tellurian toffee apple orbits ”

Artistraw are really making a name for themselves in the world of craft cider. This is another great example of why that is.

The deep golden cider pours hazy in the glass lending it a buttery shine that looks stunning. The aroma is full-on apple briefly, before giving way to notes of bitter fruit, clove, and grass.

On the palate, there is a brief hit of acidity and sweetness before the bitterness and astringency really kick in. Clove and oak dominate the long-lasting smoky, bitter and astringent finish that will delight more discerning cider drinkers.

Verdict:

Although this is a very good cider indeed, it lacks the balance of others in the range. The finish is long and astringent but also a little too oaky and bitter for our liking.

Rating: This is a Cider of Merit 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)

Gwatkin Cider – Cloudy Medium Sweet Cider – Reviewed

Producer:  Gwatkin Cider Co http://gwatkincider.co.uk
Cider Name: Cloudy Cider (Medium Sweet)
Available at: https://orchardexplorers.club/gwatkin-cloudy-cider
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV:4.5%
Taste:  Medium Sweet, Juicy with honey notes and light citrus
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Fruity Apple, Lemon zest, Honey
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Cloudy
Carbonation: Still Cider

Review / Tasting notes

“Gwatkin Cloudy Cider is a medium-sweet, traditional style farmhouse cider, with a natural taste.”

This cloudy cider, made from 100% apples, is very good indeed. The blend is dominated by the russet apples, giving an upfront taste of pure juice and honey before the sweetness kicks in. Beneath the caramel and light acidity, there are enough sharps to make themselves present on the palate. A trace of citrus, possibly lemon zest, occurs naturally and adds to the complex flavours.

Pure sugar is used to sweeten this blend and for some, this may be just too sweet to enjoy. However, as a reviewer who enjoys dry ciders, I was surprised by how much I loved this.

Verdict:

Gwatkin make cider in the traditional way. This cloudy, medium sweet apple cider is rated very highly by our tasters. Expect to see it appear in our Top 100.

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

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

Orchard Pig – Reveller – Reviewed

Producer: Orchard Pig https://orchardpig.co.uk/
Cider Name: Reveller
Region: Somerset, UK 
ABV: 4.5% 
Taste: Medium
Served: 500ml Bottle (Chilled) 
Smell: Fresh
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: (Mainstream Apple Cider)

Review / Tasting notes:

“Reveller has a generous apple aroma, drawing you into a crisp, refreshing cider with a tangy note of freshly squeezed lime in the finish.”

A celebration of somerset, snort in the hearty aroma of west country cider apples – a crisp refreshing and lightly sparkling cider with a tangy note of freshly squeezed lime. 

Verdict:

What starts well, with a fine aroma, disappoints with the lack of crisp apple flavour.  The taste is overpowered by the lime.  If you like that citrus flavour this cider will be right up your street, if not you may well be unsatisfied. Although this is not a particularly good cider, it is very drinkable. Great for the pub garden but not recognized as a particularly good cider by the good cider guide critics.

Rating: This is not a particularly Good Cider in the category (Mainstream Apple Cider)

Ranking: To be announced on The Good Cider Guide website goodciderguide.com (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)

Oliver’s – Fine Perry (Wild Ferment, Rolling Blend) – Reviewed

Producer: Oliver’s https://www.oliversciderandperry.co.uk/
Cider Name: Fine Perry (Wild Ferment, Rolling Blend)
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV: 6%
Taste: Pear, honey, citrus, elderflower, melon
Served: 330ml bottle (Lightly chilled)
Smell: Wildflowers, honey
Colour: Straw
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: Vintage and Fine Perry

Review / Tasting notes

“Bracing citrus acidity and fruitiness, think rhubarb and goosebery, hints of melon and elderflower mingle with honeyed sweetness and prickling sparkle. Drinks great straight from the fridge.”

Just as you should never judge a book by its cover; never judge a cider by it’s aroma.  This beautifully balanced perry, warms you initially with pear and honey, before a rush of citrus, elderflower and melon. The infused sweet taste lingers long on the palate, begging you to sample more.  

Verdict

A high quality perry, perfectly combining sweet and sour to create a memorable taste that never disappoints.  Summer in bloom, a comfy chair and this perry: the perfect way to spend a day!

Rating: Silver Award* (Fine Perry)

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

*A Silver award is awarded to only 5% of ciders reviewed by us. Therefore this is a highly rated perry in the category of ‘Vintage and Fine Perry’.