Perry’s Puffin

George Perry, managing director at Perry’s Cider from Somerset, UK is one of the entrepreneurs who doesn’t see Brexit as something that will help the business grow. The production cost will most probably increase and sales will go down. I hope that after Brexit I will still be able to get a decent cider from the UK at a reasonable price. Let’s see what the future brings. Next cider from Perry’s lineup is the Puffin.  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 amber with a light orange hue with a huge short-lived white head. Medium to high carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: it smells dry of fermented apples, orange, red apples with hints of funk, beeswax and leather.

Taste: my first taste is bone dry with the moderate to high acidity of lemon. Strong astringent taste, a light watery note with grapefruit, a light smoky note and lemon. It finishes dry with a light bitter taste and light grapefruit. The finish is rather short.

Overall: this is not going to be one of my favourite ciders. It’s a complex, balanced cider with typical flavours for a cider made with cider apples. The finish could be a bit longer cause the flavours don’t linger on. Personally, I found it too dry (it actually happens sometimes) and a bit too acidic. But I think it’s good that Perry’s try to have a cider that can be suitable for every palate. Although, as mentioned earlier, I don’t think that the Puffin will find a very broad audience. But those who like bone-dry cider with quite a high acidity will gonna love it. I would buy it again, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. 4/6 

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

Price: purchased from Scrattings at 2.5 GBP (2.83 EUR)

Gibbet Oak/Nightingale Cider Company Tenterden Cider

This is another cider from Gibbet Oak, which came with my cider subscription offered by Orchard Box. Tenterden is the name of a cider I am reviewing today and a city in Kent, UK. The name Tenterden apparently comes from ‘Tenet Waraden’, which in the Old English means a clearing in the forest, belonging to the men of Thanet.

Gibbet Oak rebranded recently so their new name is Nightingale Cider.
Gibbet Oak
Place of Origin: Tenterden, Kent, UK
Pears: apples grown on the farm
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 5.7%
Package type: 500ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a slightly hazy straw yellow with no head. Still. Body is light.

Aroma/Nose: the nose has a light funk with notes of fresh red apples, green notes with a distant light sulphur.

Taste: the first sip is a bit watery with a moderate level of sweetness and low lemon-like acidity. Then comes the lingering smokiness with a flavour of red and yellow apples and a touch of alcohol. Very light tannins, green notes with elderflower and a touch of lemon peel to the end.

Overall: I thought the Tenterden was unspectacular. It’s drinkable but easy to forget. I think that the amount of eating apples used is just too high, thus making this cider taste pretty average. Moreover, the Tenterden could be slightly less sweet. Also, the booze note in the aftertaste is disturbing. In summary, Gibbet’s Oak Tenterden can be eventually regarded as an alternative to commercial ciders but that’s all. Personally, I wouldn’t buy it again. 2.5/6 

Availability: seems to be available locally in Kent from Gibbet Oak Farm Shop and online from eebria.

Price: arrived with my cider subscription from Orchard Box.

Beard & Sabre Yardarm

Sailors favourite time of the day on the ship was just around 11am when the Sun passed the yardarm (the spar and mast to which the sails are set), and the first-morning drink was allowed. Hence, the Yardarm, a medium cider crafted by guys from a British cider maker Beard & Sabre is supposed to help you relax and enjoy the moment.

Yardarm is fermented for 6 months at room temperature with champagne yeast, subsequently undergoing malolactic fermentation.

Company: Beard and Sabre Cider Company 
Place of Origin: Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
Apples: a blend of cider apples
Level of Sweetness: medium
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, snifter or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy amber with light orange hues and no head. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose exhibits notes of crisp and fresh red apple, fermented apple, caramel, vanilla, hints of funk and a very distant note of nail polish.

Taste: it begins with a medium sweetness and a note of a sweetener, followed by low to medium acidity (like biting into a crisp tart red apple). On the mid-palate notes of red apples, apple skin, a strong note of smoked cheese, oak, caramel and hints of lemon and funk. It finishes dry with a moderate astringent taste, red apple note and a sweetener-like taste with a very distant bitter note.

Overall: guys from Beard & Sabre have been producing consistently good cider at least based on my experience. Also, their Yardam is a very drinkable cider with a good level of tannins, lovely apple forward taste, nice sweetness and level of acidity (slightly higher than usually found in an English cider). All these flavours produce a refreshing and easy going cider suitable for everyone. Briefly, it tastes like a refreshing lemon iced tea, but with the buzz. Only the sweetener taste is a bit of a turn-off to me, but overall it is a really decent drop. I think I wouldn’t say no to another pint of the Yardam. 4/6  

Availability: Beard & Sabre attend many food festivals in the UK. Otherwise, check Eebria or Fetch the Drinks, I wasn’t able to find any other store outside the UK selling their cider.

Price: came with my Orchard Box subscription.

Dorset Nectar Wildcat Cider

Is the Wildcat Cider from Dorset Nectar as wild as the name indicates? Is it sharp as the wildcat’s claw and teeth? Or dangerously good? There is only one way to find out.Company: Dorset Nectar
Place of Origin: Bridport, Dorset, UK
Apples: local organic cider apples 
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass
Note: no sulphites, fermented with natural yeast

Appearance: pours a cloudy amber with orange hues and no head. Slightly sparkling. Body is medium. Sediment in the bottle. Little flecks floating as well.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is fruity and exhibits notes of fresh apple juice, tart apples and red apples with caramel, beeswax and leather,

Taste: the first sip is slightly watery with a delicate sweetness and very strong tannins coating your mouth and giving a strong astringent flavour (detectable throughout the whole sip). On the mid-palate red apples, caramel, low to medium acidity with a lemon citrusy taste, some funk, fresh apple juice and apple seed-bitterness. After a while, a grapefruit-like bitterness appears on the mid-palate. The finish is dry with notes of watermelon or melon. A tingling sensation on the tongue to the end.

Overall: this cider falls into a category of anti-social ciders due to the strong astringent taste that by drying your mouth shut your mouth 🙂 Similarly to the previously reviewed Old Harry Rocks the taste explodes in the first sip leaving your eyes wide open.  But then, a beautiful lingering appley and citrusy flavour appear. It’s like a dance of many flavours. Yet it tastes different than the good Old Harry Rocks. Also, I don’t remember having a cider with both types of bitterness before, grapefruit and apples-seeds-like, which were both fantastic! The Wildcat is a lovely pour with pronounced tannins, full body and a powerful apple taste. I loved it. 4.5/6

 Availability: in the UK only. From their online shop, Eebria, Fetch the Drinks, Cider Supermarket. Locally in Bristol from Bottles and Books.

Price: came with my monthly subscription from Orchard Box.

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.