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)

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)

Meon Valley Cider – Dragonfly – Reviewed

Producer: Meon Valley Cider http://www.meonvalleycider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Dragonfly
Region: Hampshire, Uk
ABV: 6%
Taste: Bitter-sharp, crisp apple skins, broad tannin bitter-sweet
Served: 500ml bottle (Lightly chilled)
Smell: Wildflowers
Colour: Amber (Honey)
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: Regional Cider

Review / Tasting notes

“Honey coloured, wildflower nose with almond notes, hints of bittersweet and a lingering dry finish.”

An intriguing fusion of East meets West apples in this delightful Hampshire blend.

The upfront bitter-sharps fizz momentarily before crisp apple skins and broad tannins give depth to the taste. There follows a little bitter-sweetness alongside honey and latterly clove. The finish is bitter but not too much so, neither is this so dry that the fruit is overwhelmed. Finely balanced with just a modicum of astringency in the after-taste.

Verdict: This is a fantastic and intriguing blend. One for the table to accompany a blue cheese perhaps. This is a very fine cider indeed and one of only a handful to be issued our silver award.

Rating: Silver Award* (Regional Cider)

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 cider in the category of ‘Regional Cider’.

Cranes – Blueberries and Apple Cider- Reviewed

Producer: Cranes https://www.drinkcranes.co.uk/
Cider Name: Blueberries and Apple
Region: Cambridge, Uk
ABV: 4%
Taste: Fruity, naurally sweet fruit of cranberry blueberry and apple
Served: 750ml bottle (Chilled)
Smell: Fruity
Colour: Red (cranberry juice colour)
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Ben & Dan brew the finest cranberries alongside apples to deliver this refreshingly crisp cider with blueberries and apples for that delicious fruity taste. We have managed to create a naturally light cider by utilizing the sweetness of the fruit..”

This is a delicately balanced collection of complimentary flavours that culminates in a refreshing cider. At just 4% ABV it isn’t syrupy like some fruit ciders.

The upfront fruitiness of the blueberries and cranberries remains throughout. The apples bittersweet tones are overwhelmed by the berries a little too much for this to be regarded as an apple cider but we loved it nevertheless.

Verdict: From the first sip, the fruit quality was extremely high. Although destined for a commercial market, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing fruit juice cider.

Rating: 7.85 (Bronze Award)

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

Cornish Orchards – Gold – Reviewed

Producer: Cornish Orchards

https://www.cornishorchards.co.uk/

Cider Name: Cornish Orchard Gold

Region: Liskeard, Cornwall

ABV: 5%

Taste: Fruity Apple Tones, Crisp and Dry

Served: 500ml Bottle (Chilled)

Smell: Sweet Apple

Colour: Gold

Clarity: Clear

Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes

“An immensely refreshing cider, lightly sparkling, with fruity apple tones and a long dry finish”

This is as refreshing to drink as it looks in the bottle.  Desert and bittersweet apples immediately come to the fore, followed by a satisfying, morish, dry finish.

Verdict

An excellent cider, delivering on smell, taste and refreshment with a satisfying dry finish that will tempt you to open another bottle.

Rating: TBC

Ranking: TBC (01/07/21)

Dudda’s Tun – Elderflower – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun https://duddastuncider.com/
Cider Name: Elderflower
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 4.0%
Taste: Smooth and floral
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Fresh apple and elderflower
Colour: Pale, gold
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“The perfect blend of cider and fresh elderflower with a gentle sweetness and light sparkle.”

Gentle elderflower floral tones are ever present in this likeable cider from Dudda’s Tun. It’s probably not one for the purists but we found it difficult to fault. The aroma is floral and the taste is pleasant and softly fruity. A delicate balance is achieved but like the ‘Sweet Apple’ it lacks in complexity of cider flavours (bitterness, acidity).

Verdict: A very likeable and subtle sweet cider. Scored well with quite a difficult to please group of tasters tonight.

Rating: 7.4

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

Dudda’s Tun – Sweet Apple – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun https://duddastuncider.com/
Cider Name: Sweet Apple
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 5.3%
Taste: Delicately Sweet
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Sweet Apple
Colour: Pale gold
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Lightly sparkling and bursting with freshly picked apple flavour. This sweet cider is deliciously moreish, with soft honey notes.”

Although this is a highly drinkable sweet cider, our tasters were underwhelmed by this one. The sweet apple is overpowered by sweet and saccharin cloying. As a result, ‘Sweet Apple’ lacks balance and, with little else being offered, lacked character. Honey notes lacked presence.

Verdict: A sweet and sugary apple cider. Not a high scorer and unlikely to threaten the Top 100. Not very well balanced and lacking in character.

Rating: 4.4

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

Dudda’s Tun – Original – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun https://duddastuncider.com/
Cider Name: Original (Season 2018)
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 6.5%
Taste: Smooth, lingering, well-balanced
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Mellow apple aroma
Colour: Clear, golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still

Review / Tasting notes

“A smooth blend of Russet, Cox and Bramley, this refined medium cider is packed full of flavour.”

‘Original’ is the most complex and traditional of all the Dudda’s Tun ciders tested so far. At 6.5% it packs more punch than others in the range. Our tasters agreed that the aroma was a mellow apple with honey undertones. Upfront sweetness is replaced quickly by bitterness; the after-taste is smooth, if a tiny bit acidic. The description of the cider as ‘still’ is a little misleading. We found this to be lightly carbonated on pouring, probably due to prolonged secondary fermentation (2018 season).

Verdict: Complex and traditional. Well-balanced and smooth for a cider at 6.5%.

Rating: 7.1

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

Dudda’s Tun – Greenhorn – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun https://duddastuncider.com/
Cider Name: Greenhorn
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 5.2%
Taste: Crisp green apple
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Fresh
Colour: Clear, pale gold
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“A lightly sparkling medium cider, with crisp and refreshing green undertones”

Refreshingly understated, Greenhorn places the green apple front and centre. Low in Tannins and acidity. it’s fair to say that there is not much going on here to excite the tasters. What Greenhorn lacks in complexity, it makes up for in balance. Upfront sweetness is replaced with a medium dryness and crisp mouthfeel.

Verdict: Refreshingly simple. A crisp cider that places green apples at the forefront. Not a high scorer and unlikely to threaten the Top 100. Well balanced.

Rating: 6.1

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