West Milton Lancombe Rising

To tell the truth, I didn’t know much about the West Milton Cider Company before I purchased their cider. I was rather intrigued by the shape of the bottle as it was unusual for a cider coming from the UK. In that bottle happened to be their sparkling and award-winning Lancombe Rising, which turned the French cider world upside down in 2009, when it was awarded Gold at the Senator Christian Revet Cup, a prestigious cider competition in Normandy, France. West Milton Cider Co. has won a succession of awards in recent years, from the Royal Bath & West Show, and Taste of the West. Langcombe Rising is made by keeving, a typically French cidermaking process that retains the natural sweetness in cider.Company: West Milton Cider Co
Place of Origin: 1 Pear Tree Cottages, West Milton, Bridport, Dorset, UK
Apples: a blend including Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Chisel Jersey.
Sweetness as per label: keeved cider
ABV: 5%
Package type: 375ml clear champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute, chalice glass or wine glass

Appearance: pours a hazy pale amber with a massive head, which only slowly dissipates. Highly carbonated, with beautiful strings of bubbles. Body is medium. Sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose has apricots, raisins, overripe and fermented apples with wood. A beautiful scent typical for French cidre that makes your mouth water.

Taste: it starts slightly sweet with low acidity and a hint of vinegar. Followed by dried fruits such as apricots, raisins and fermented apples. I can also get a bit watery taste with a smoky note, a lingering taste of wood with a medium to high astringency, a hint of lemon and a distant barnyard note.

Overall: it feels strange to drink a French-style cider from the UK. But Lancombe Rising tastes really good and indeed more refreshing that many French cidres that I’ve tried so far. It has a beautiful nose, good structure, and many lovely flavours on the palate. Lancombe Rising perfectly complimented my evening. I will be back for more. 5/6 

Availability: in the UK from Cider Supermarket. In other European countries e.g. from Cider Lab.

Price: purchased online from Cider Lab at 6.50 EUR.

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De Vergeten Appel Stam 2015

‘De Vergeten Appel’ actually means ‘forgotten apples’. Why forgotten? Because Johan Holleman, who is in charge of cider making at De Verboten Appel from Tilburg, Netherlands uses apples from old, neglected and often forgotten orchards. Let’s give it a try!Company: De Vergeten Appel
Place of Origin: Tilburg, Netherlands
Apples: unknown
Sweetness as per label: unknown
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 750ml green champagne bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a cloudy very pale yellow straw to greenish yellow with no head. Lightly sparkling, natural carbonation. Body is low. Some sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: not so much on the nose. The aroma has fermenting apples with a strong sulphur note. After a few further sniffs, notes of green tart apples with apple skin appeared. Overall, the nose is dominated by sulphur.

Taste: the first sip is very dry without any residual sugar and with medium to high lemon-like acidity. Further notes that appear are of strong sulphur with light watery and medium bitter taste. Also, hints of pear and green apple.

Overall: this is not exactly what I hoped for when opening the bottle. A cider dominated by sulphur in both aroma and taste. Moreover, the taste of sulphur overpowered and killed other flavours making this cider undrinkable. Even pumpkin cider from Beard & Sabre (see the review here), which also had plenty of sulphur on the palate, was drinkable and tasted rather pleasant. I wanted to introduce Dutch craft cider to my family and friends as they never tried one. Unfortunately, I picked this particular cider for the tasting. And, nobody enjoyed having the Stam. It was terrible! Hence, I wouldn’t recommend this cider to anyone. Hopefully, other ciders from their lineup will not disappoint me. 2/6 

Availability: used to be available through Ciderlab and Cidercider.

Price: It was one of the bottles featured in the De vergeten Appel discovery box that I purchased from Ciderlab.

Hoxton Cidersmiths Michelin & Brown’s

It is not uncommon that a new business starts because someone is not satisfied with products currently on the market. This is how Hoxton Cidersmiths was founded. Will Austin and Phillip Warren are two school friends, who complained a lot about the taste of cider they had in various London pubs (I can totally relate to this) and after a longer while decided to make an ‘interesting cider’, as they call it, themselves.Company: Hoxton Cidersmiths 
Place of Origin: 
London, UK
Apples:
a blend of Michelin and Brown’s and other apple varieties
ABV:
 4.5%
Package type:
500ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:
pint glass, snifter or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden/ pale amber with no head. The fizz is short-lived and I think it’s artificial. The body is light.

Aroma/Nose: smells of red apple skins, sweet and tart red apple flesh with notes of caramel and still fermenting apples. Also, distant funky notes with barnyard and beeswax.

Taste: It starts with low to moderate sweetness and watery taste with moderate acidity. The mid-palate is tart with a light smoky note of ham with fruity flavours of red berries, especially strawberries. Additionally, I can taste notes of red apples and distant funky notes. The finish is dry with a lingering flavour of tart apples and slightly sour berries. No bitter notes.

Overall: The Michelin and Brown’s is a refreshing and easy drinking cider, but still complex and nicely balanced. Interestingly, I didn’t find the watery flavour disturbing in this cider. On the contrary, I quite enjoyed it. Moreover, refreshing flavours of red fruits and other berries make it a great thirst quencher. Guys, you made it. Your cider is indeed ‘interesting’. I enjoyed the Michelin & Brown’s and I’m looking forward to having it again on a hot summer day. 4.5/6 

Availability: Most UK retailers, who had Hoxton Cidersmiths’ cider on offer, are out of stock. At the moment, the only cider shop, known to me, stocking Hoxton Cidersmith’s cider is Ciderlab.

Price: purchased online from Ciderlab at 4.67 EUR.