It’s fascinating that drinking cider can help you discover interesting facts from the history of England. I’ve just learned that Jack Rattenbury (today’s cider was named after this guy) was a notorious Devon smuggler, nicknamed ‘Rob Roy of the West’. Publication of his diary describing all activities made him famous. I think I’d like to read this book if opportunity occurs.
Back to cider, I saw rather mixed reviews on the Jack Ratt Scrumpy Cider from the Lyme Bay Cider Company, which I’m sampling today. Some love it. Some hate it. I think I have to try it myself to make my own opinion. Jack Ratt is an award-winning scrumpy cider that received Gold from the Taste of the West Awards in 2015.
Company: Lyme Bay Cider Company / Lyme Bay Winery
Place of Origin: Axminster, Devon, UK
Apples: Medium Sweet
Sweetness as per label: a blend of locally grown traditional cider varieties such as Tremlett’s Bitter, Foxwhelp and Tom Putt.
Package type: 500ml clear glass flagon with screw cap. I love the packaging! Interestingly, there is a bottle number, which is V0098376.
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter
Appearance: pours a clear amber with orange hues. There is no froth and no carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: Pleasant on the nose. I smell dry notes with still fermenting apples, red apples flesh, caramel and notes of apple pie with cinnamon.
Taste: sip starts with slightly watery, slightly sweet flavor resembling a sweetener with a hint of smoke. But would rather say it’s medium dry than medium sweet. The taste transitions next into refreshing low to medium lemon-like acidity with red apple flesh and skin notes along with baked apples and cinnamon. Low astringency on the mid-palate. The finish is dry and lingering with a gentle touch of bitterness and astringency.
Overall: the Jack Ratt reminds me slightly of the Black Dragon from Gwynt y Ddraig due to apple pie flavors, but it has a nice gentle lingering finish, which was missing in the Black Dragon. The only thing that I find disturbing is the slightly watery flavor on the palate. I think that the Jack Ratt Scrumpy Cider is very drinkable with a perfect level of sweetness, acidity and tannins. Really delicious! I would purchase more if only it was locally available at more reasonable price. 9.5 EUR for a 500ml flagon is just too much for Berlin standards. 4.5/6
Availability: in the UK through their online shop or English Heritage, THE OLD HARTINGTON CHEESESHOP, Quarry Cottage Hampers, DrinksWell, OnlineWineCellar and locally at the the Castle Inn in West Lulworth.
Price: 9.5 EUR at the Castle Pub, a great pub with a nice cider selection. They are moving soon to a new location, but I hope they will keep the cider refrigerator. Or even get a bigger one?