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 an 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 a slightly watery and a slightly sweet flavour 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 the apple pie flavours, 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 flavour 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 a 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 Castle Inn in West Lulworth. In Germany available from Britische-Biere.de.
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?