St Pauls Sacrifice​

St. Pauls Cidery is a micro cidery from St. Pauls, Bristol, UK. They have a range of ciders with devilish-sounding names such as Lucifer, Pagan or Sacrifice. I’ve been looking forward to trying one of their ciders for a while now. It’s time to sample the Sacrifice.Company: St Pauls Cidery
Place of Origin: Bristol, UK
Apples: unknown
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 8%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, chalice glass or white wine

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden. No visible carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is sweetish with notes of sulphur (matches-like), yellow apple, pineapple, apple seeds with a hint of nail polish

Taste: the first sip is dry with some residual sweetness to it. No detectable acidity. On the mid-palate a flavour of white wine, canned pineapple juice, toffee, yellow apples, a hint of pear, watery flavour leading to a biting booze finish with a plain bitter flavour. No tannins detectable.

Overall: I wish I could give a better rating but the Sacrifice tastes really terrible. To give you a better picture, it’s like drinking a badly mixed cocktail made with pineapple juice, vodka and some apple juice, which has the alcohol content way out of proportion. So now you can imagine that it wasn’t exactly a pleasant drinking experience. I have the impression that the Sacrifice is a cider made mainly from dessert apples and sat too long on its lees giving the bitter off flavour. I wouldn’t buy it again. 2/6 

Availability: from their online shop. Through Brewers Droop, Better Food stores in Bristol. At Harvest Bath in Bath.

Price: came with my Orchard Box.


Ex-Press Cider Gun Dog Millionaire

It happens extremely rare, but all I could find about Ex-Press Cider is that the company was launched in 2016 and comes from Porlock, Exmoor, Somerset, UK.  As for the Gun Dog Millionaire, it is a Silver medal winner from 2017 SWECA Annual Cider Competition in the category medium cider. Company: ExPress Cider
Place of Origin:
Exmoor, Somerset, UK
Somerset cider apples
Sweetness as per label:
ABV: 6.9%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with orange hues and no head. Low carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: it smells fruity and sweet at the same time of freshly pressed apple juice, red apples, sweet caramel. Notes of oak and barnyard in the background. 

Taste: it starts slightly watery with caramel-like sweetness and low, barely detectable acidity. Subsequently, you get a powerful astringent kick with a light smokiness, accompanied by notes of red apple, fresh apple juice and oak. Towards the end apple seeds with a hint of caramel bitterness and watermelon.

Overall: this is one of the rare cases when a slightly higher level of sweetness would improve the palate and most probably make the watery taste disappear. Gun Dog Millionaire is advertised as medium, but I would classify the level of sweetness as more on the drier side of medium, medium dry. It’s light, interesting with a nice breadth of flavours and can’t be likeable. Well, I liked it. But the faint watery taste was quite disappointing. I could have it again, but I could live without. 4/6

Availability: mostly in the North Exmoor area. Also available through Bottles & Books in Bristol.

Price: arrived with my cider subscription delivered monthly by Orchard Box.

Crone’s Original

Robbie Crone, who established Crone’s Organic Cider in 1989, is actually a furniture maker. After several years of experimenting with cider, he made the decision to make cider instead of furniture. I feel you, Robbie.Company: Crone’s Cider
Place of Origin: Fairview, Kenninghall, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Ingredients: organically grown Bramley, Cox, russet, and spartan and organic cane sugar 
ABV: 7.4%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, chalice glass or wine glass

Note: free from sulphites and artificial sweeteners

Appearance: pours a clear golden with no head. No visible signs of carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is not very strong, but rich with gentle wild notes of light barnyard, leather and wood with baked apples, sour apples and raisins.
Taste: the first sip tastes slightly sweet, thus I would classify the Original as medium dry. Fermented apples, smoky ham, red apples, raisins and very light watery taste appear on the mid-palate. Interestingly, the smoky note is lingering so you can get it even in the finish along with a distant bitterness, subtle astringency, note of lemon and a woody and smoky flavour characteristic for whisky. Despite the ABV of 7.4%, I can’t taste alcohol here.

Overall: If you are a fan of whisky or calvados, or even both, the Original will appeal to you. It’s a really a nice and complex cider with plenty of flavours to appreciate. The nose might not be strong, but rich. Interestingly, lemon notes appear only in the aftertaste, not in the beginning, which is rather unusual. I can’t call this cider brilliant perhaps as something is just missing here, but I wouldn’t mind having it again. 4/6 

Availability: only in the UK, at many festivals, pubs and online through Beers of Europe or Beautiful Beers. Locally through Books and Bottles in Bristol.
Price: came with my cider subscription delivered monthly by Orchard Box 

Tempted Dry

Tempted Irish Craft Cider is a family-run cidery from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, UK. It was established only in 2009 by Dave Uprichard, who is a first generation cider-maker. At Tempted only Irish apples are used, including Armagh Bramley Apple with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. Currently, Tempted Irish Craft Cider have five different ciders in their line-up, Sweet, Medium Dry, Dry, Elderflower and Strawberry.  Their range of ciders picked up plenty of national and international cider awards. Today I’m reviewing the Dry.Company: Tempted Irish Craft Cider
Place of Origin: Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Apples: dessert and Bramley apples sourced locally
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 5.7%
Package type: 500ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, chalice glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden yellow with a massive short-lived white foam. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is fruity and has notes of white wine, apple juice, cider apples, caramel, oak, apple flesh, fermented apples. Also, a distant buttery note. The scent is very rich and inviting.

Taste: the first sip is slightly watery and dry, but not bone dry, with medium acidity. The mid-palate has notes of a fresh apple juice and a regular apple juice with fermented apples and white wine. The aftertaste is also dry with a lingering note of smoked cheese with a touch of bitterness, watermelon and low astringent taste.

Overall: Tempted’s Dry is a refreshing combination of culinary apples with cider apples. It is a really decent cider, full-bodied with a good structure and satisfying taste. Also, it’s not bone dry, but not sweet either, which makes the Dry a lovely food-friendly crowd pleaser. I enjoyed it the crisp appley taste and would love to have it again. Sadly, the Dry is not available in Germany yet. 4.5/6

Availability: many pubs in Nothern Ireland have their cider in stock. Online in the UK from Amazon, Martin’s Off-Licence, Drink Finder. (Constantine Stores Ltd). Locally from Bottles and Books in Bristol, UK or The Winehouse in Trim, Ireland. In Italy from Sidro & Cider.

Price: came with my craft cider subscription delivered monthly by Orchard Box





Bignose & Beardy On the Road

On the Road is another cider from the Bignose & Beardy, two guys making cider and running a cider club in the UK. Their dry Cockhaisy, was not one of my favourites but perhaps with their On the Road I will get more drinking pleasure. Company: Bignose & Beardy 
Place of Origin: Framfield, Sussex, UK
Apples: from local orchards
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 5.2%
Package type: 330ml brown glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a very slightly hazy pale golden with no head. No carbonation. Body is light.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is not very strong. But with very inviting wild notes of leather and beeswax, tart and fermented apples, and yellow apples with a distant hint of vinegar.

Taste: it begins with low to medium sweetness and medium citrusy acidity. I get notes of yellow apple, lemon, grapefruit juice and orange juice with smokiness, light astringency and a distant note of barnyard on the mid-palate. The aftertaste is dry with citrusy notes of orange, grapefruit and a hint of bitter grapefruit peel with a distant vinegary touch.

Overall: Yummy! On the Road is simply a lovely drop. It tastes like a Spanish spin on an English style cider due to the detectable vinegary aftertaste and very refreshing citrusy flavour. It’s rich, balanced and dangerously drinkable. And much better than their Cockhaisy. I could have it again. A cider for everyone. 4.5/6 

Availability: you have to join their Bignose & Beardy Cider Club in order to receive their cider. Membership is limited to UK residents. Limited number of bottles available from Bottles & Books in Bristol and through The Cider House in London.

Price: On the Road was in my cider subscription box delivered monthly by Orchard Box.

Dorset Nectar Old Harry Rocks

If you have recently decided to acquire a piece of land as a retirement plan, to have pigs or because you needed a barn outside the city for your hobby, and the piece of land happens to have an orchard with cider apples or old apple varieties attached, be warned as you are in a high-risk group. Soon you will end up making hectoliters of award-winning real organic cider like Oliver and Penny from Dorset Nectar in the UK. You’ve been warned!

It’s my first time trying any cider from Dorset Nectar. I’ve chosen to start with the multi-award-winning Old Harry Rocks. Company: Dorset Nectar
Place of Origin: Bridport, Dorset, UK
Apples: a blend of Brown, Dabinett, Coate Jersey, Michelin, Tremletts Bitter, Taylor, Chesil Jersey, Sweet Coppin, Harry Master’s Jersey, Yarlington Mill and Porter’ Perfection from organic orchards

ABV: 6%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or flute
Note: no sulphites, fermented with natural yeast

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale amber with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is funky, tannic and exhibits crisp and sour red apples, cider apples, barnyard, caramel and beeswax. It’s strong and pleasant.

Taste: it starts quite dry and slightly watery with low acidity and a touch of grapefruit-like bitterness. Subsequently, you get a strong tannic kick with high tartness and astringency with a touch of lemon. The aftertaste is dry with refreshing lemon and again, grapefruit-like bitterness with a flavour of red apple.

Overall: the first sip was like a giant explosion of flavours in my mouth. If you could compare it to music it would be like a jazz jam session. Each flavour would play it’s own music at the same time creating a wonderful, balanced, refreshing and unique piece. It’s a cider to please any crowd. I loved it. 5/6

Availability: from their online shop, Eebria, Dike & Son, Artisan CidersBottles and Books in Bristol.

Price: came with my monthly subscription from Orchard Box.

Perry’s Barn Owl

One of my followers recommended trying the Barn Owl from Perry’s lineup next as this one is his second favourite after the brilliant Grey Heron. So upon request, I’m giving it a try.Company: Perry’s Cider
Place of Origin: The Cider Mills, Dowlish Wake, Somerset, UK
Apples: unknown varieties
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, chalice glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a lightly hazy pale orange with a short-lived white head. Lightly sparkling.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose funky notes of barnyard, incense, leather with a hint of fresh ripe red apples and fermented apples.

Taste: the first sip is slightly watery with medium sweetness and low acidity. Fresh and ripe red juicy apples with fermented red apples, some berries, smokiness and funky barnyard notes on the mid-palate. The aftertaste is dry with a gentle wood and leather note and a lingering strong astringency. No bitterness.

Overall: there was much oohing and aahing during drinking. Barn Owl is simply another great cider from Perry’s. The Barn Owl is, however, less sweet and lighter than the Grey Heron, but similarly mouth-puckering and refreshing at the same time. I must agree that the Grey Heron tasted slightly better as there was more weight on the palate. But, again the Barn Owl is more refreshing. A great drop for the summer, I think. On another note, please bear in mind that due to the mouth-puckering effect of the Barn Owl chatting might be difficult ;-). To summarise, I loved the Barn Owl, but I would rather drink the Barn Owl in the summer, and leave the Grey Heron for a chilly autumn or winter day. 5/6 

Availability: from their online shopBottles and BooksBristol Cider ShopFetch the Drinks, Brewers Droop, Beers by Post. In Denmark online from Klosterbryggeriet and in Germany from Ciderhof.

Price: came with my cider subscription delivered monthly by Orchard Box.