Thistly Cross Original

Scotch whisky is a key part of Scottish culture. And, cider? Well, Scotland has only a few cider makers, and Thistly Cross Cider is one of them. Thistly Cross Cider was set up only in Autumn 2008 and is made by Peter Stuart (cider maker) and Ian Rennie (farmer) on Belhaven Fruit Farm, close to Dunbar. The Original is claimed to be an award-winning cider, but I haven’t found a single award for the Original. Only for the cider manufacturer or for other ciders from their lineup. Company: Thistly Cross
Place of Origin: Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland
Apples: a blend of Scottish heritage apples
Sweetness as per label: sweet
ABV: 6.2%
Package type: 500ml brown glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a short-lived white head. Medium carbonated. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: smells fruity of red apples, apple juice, light raspberry and other red fruits with notes of white wine. Slightly sweetish.

Taste: the first sip is moderately sweet with low acidity. The mid-palate has fruity notes of red apples, apple juice and red berries with white wine notes. The aftertaste is also fruity with notes of apple juice and berries. Also, light bitterness and some spiciness from alcohol. It gives you a light warming effect of the alcohol.

Overall: I’m not a big fan of ciders made from dessert apples, as they tend to be too sweet, watery and boring. Perhaps the Original didn’t taste boring and watery, exceptionally sweet. I’m sure it will find a grip on people, who will find it appealing as it’s not bad. It’s just not a cider for me. 3/6 

Availability: Widely available. Locally from Asda, Sainsbury’s. From their online store, Fetch the drinks, Cider & More, Britische Biere, Depot Shop Kiel, Ciderwinkel. Locally in Berlin from Hopfen & Malz or in the Monterey Bar. In Frankfurt from Naiv.

Price:  when I was cider shopping at Hopfen & Malz in Berlin.

Cidrerie Milton CID Original

Cidrerie Milton, as we know it today, was established in 2015 in Sainte-Cécile-de-Milton in Québec, Canada by the Lasnier family. Originally, set up in 1927 as a dairy farm it was turned to an apple orchard supplying Eastern Quebec with dessert apples for the next 70 years. First ciders were made at Cidrerie Milton in 2003. Today I’m trying CID Original, one of their signature offerings, made with Mcintosh and Spartan.Company: Cidrerie Milton
Place of Origin: Sainte-Cécile-de-Milton, Québec, Canada
Apples:
 a blend of Mcintosh and Spartan 
ABV:
 4.5%
Package type: 
draught
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a small white head quickly dissipates. Low carbonation. Low body.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is moderately strong with notes of pears, apple juice made with yellow apples, woody of apple stems. Very distant sulphur.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with a low acidity of lemon and tart apples. On the mid-palate notes of apple juice, pears and low bitterness. Finishes with a note of sweet red apples and a hint of cinnamon and caramel.

Overall: Mcintosh and Spartan are typical dessert apple varieties for North America. Despite the use of dessert apples, Cidrerie Milton managed to craft light and tasty cidre with quite high complexity and structure. Surprisingly, the CID didn’t taste watery as many ciders made with dessert apples. I assume that it is most probably because of the high level of sweetness. Regardless, I didn’t get any notes that would make this cider stand out. Relatively high sugar level was also one of the reasons I actually didn’t want to drink the remaining half glass. So I had only 0.15L. Once it warmed up I gave it another chance but it didn’t make the taste any better. Fans of sweet cider will enjoy the CID Original. I prefer my cider dry and tannic. 3.5/6

Availability: mainly in Quebec, parts of the U.S., Spain and occasionally also in Berlin.

Price: 0.3L at 4.80 EUR in the Muted Horn in Berlin

Taunton Cider Original Dry

The Taunton Cider Company is not exactly a new cider producer as it was established in 1911 in Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, Somerset. In the mid-90s, they used to be one of the largest cider companies in the UK producing 30 million gallons of cider annually, when it was bought by Matthew Clark, a drinks distributor owned by C&C Group. This is when they even had white cider in their portfolio. Suddenly, the Taunton Cider Company disappeared from the market in 2011. In 2016, it came back from the dead and moved back to Taunton, not far away from the previous location. Their range of ciders picked up even a few awards e.g. Bronze at the Royal Bath West 2017. Today’s review is on their Original Dry. Company: Taunton Cider Company
Place of Origin: Taunton, Somerset, UK
Apples: locally sourced Yarlington Mill, Dabinett and Harry Masters Jersey
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a white quickly dissipating head. Medium, artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is moderately strong and rich with notes of caramel, bittersweet apples and sharp apples, vanilla, smokiness and something spicy. Also, after a while, I can get some hints of peat. The nose is clear and pleasant.

Taste: my initial taste is moderately sweet (definitely not dry) with a light acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate notes of caramel and light butter, cider apples, red and yellow apples, watery (like mineral water), medium astringency and light bitterness. The finish is dry with a caramel note and a gentle bitter taste of apple seeds.

Overall: it’s great to see that a company once producing white cider, has abandoned this past and moved towards proper cider. The Original is a quite decent cider with a very pleasant nose and good palate, thus it should satisfy every palate. Judging by the taste, the Original is clearly made from cider apples as it has no off-notes or flavours of apple juice from concentrate. But, the ABV level and the taste clearly indicate that it was watered down. Pity, cause I would like it more with full strength. But overall it is a fine cider. And, it’s rather medium dry than dry. A nice one. 4/6

Availability: only in the UK from Fetch the Drinks or British Corner Shop,

Price: a sample was provided by the Taunton Cider Company

Albens Original

The history behind Albens Cider is really fascinating. Dina Rimandra Handayani was an MBA student at Imperial College London when she discovered cider and its rising popularity in the UK and other European countries. Once she returned to her homeland, Indonesia she set up Albens Cider in Bali, where she could source apples. In addition, Dina got Alessio Cristofoletto and Ben Wakefield as technical advisors and investors on board. Before their cider hit the shelves it took them two years to overcome bureaucratic hurdles and receive one of the first cider-production permits in Indonesia. Today their cider is available in three variants, the Original, Apple & Strawberry, Apple & Mango.Company: Albens Cider
Place of Origin: Jembrana, Bali, Indonesia
Apples: locally sourced Fuji apples
ABV: 4.9%
Package type: 330ml brown glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Ingredients: apple juice, water, sugar, yeast, carbon dioxide, malic acid, sulphites.

Appearance: pours a clear golden yellow with a massive short-lived white head. High carbonation with a low body.

Aroma/Nose: smells sweet of commercially available apple juice from concentrate

Taste: it starts medium sweet with low acidity. On the mid-palate a rather unpleasant buttery flavour with notes of apple juice. This is all I’m getting here.

Overall: Briefly, I didn’t enjoy the Original even a little. It’s a slightly sour tasting apple lemonade, which lacks any depth. And, it has this horrible buttery flavour! I didn’t even manage to drink the whole 330ml bottle. Apples might be scarce in Indonesia, but even if you have only dessert apples at hand such as Fuji you can make a decent drinkable cider. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend Albens’ Original to anyone. 1.5/6

Availability: in Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and Malaysia.

Price: had it at 26.5 RM from Taps Beer Bar 1Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Lazy Fox Cider Original

The name of the cider I’m planning to review today ‘Lazy Fox’ may give one an impression that it comes from the UK or at least from an English speaking country. But in fact, Lazy Fox is a German cider brand that was developed in a tiny kitchen in Hamburg by Robin, Henning and Sascha. Where did the inspiration come from? Yes, after their holidays in England. I’m giving their Original a try.Company: Lazy Fox GmbH
Place of Origin: Hamburg, Germany
Ingredients: apple wine, water, sugar, carbon dioxide, citric acid sulphites
ABV: 4.9%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a white fizz that quickly dissipates. Medium artificial carbonation. Low body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of sweet pear juice, alcohol, light pineapple and something chemical, which is not necessarily pleasant.

Taste: it begins very sweet with low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate a note of pear juice, pineapple, lemon and light alcohol. Finishes quickly leaving a fruity and chemical aftertaste.

Overall: long story short, the Original tastes basically like an alcoholic pear juice with some kind of chemical notes, especially on the nose. Moreover, I have a strong suspicion that it might have been made from concentrate although it’s not listed on the label. Also, it’s weird if you can taste the alcohol at ABV of only 4.9%. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it. I couldn’t even finish this small bottle. But I guess some may find it drinkable. I’m sorry but I can’t recommend it to anyone.  2/6 

Availability: online in Germany from their online shopCiderei, Getränke Paradies Wolf, My Time. In Switzerland through PiffPaff.

Price: Lady Fox Cider Original was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Redbrook Original Polosuchý

Redbrook Cider comes from the Czech Republic and is produced in Dřínov u Slaného in the Central Bohemian Region. Apples used for Redbrook’s Cider are grown in the orchards owned by Jiří Hubáček. It’s my first time trying anything from this cider maker.Company: Redbrook Cider
Place of Origin: Dřínov, Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic
Apples: a blend of Czech apples from Jiří Hubáček’s orchards
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with light orange hues with a fast reducing white foam. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: it smells like a regular apple juice from a supermarket. Further notes I pick up are of distant caramel and toffee with a light buttery flavour.

Taste: the first sip is slightly sweet of caramel with low acidity. It tastes a bit watery with notes of red apples, regular apple juice (but not that strong as on the nose), light astringent taste, distant bitterness and red berries. It finishes dry with a note of dried stone fruits, including apricot, distant buttery flavour, and slightly biting due to the feeling of bubbles bursting in the mouth.

Overall: the flavour of Redbrook’s Original more closely resembles that of apple juice than that of cider or an alcoholic beverage made from apples. The Original is drinkable,  made from quality apples, but not exciting. An apple juice with added cider. Also, it has a light buttery note, which I am not a fan of. I guess it will find an audience among those who never had cider before, hence don’t know how cider is supposed to taste like. But a more demanding cider drinker will be disappointed. 3/6

Availability: only in the Czech Republic through Pochutnejsi. Also, available in many bars and restaurants around the Czech Republic.

Price: Original Polosuchý was a sample provided by Redbrook Cider.

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