Ramborn Vintage Luxembourg Perry 2017 Harvest

Ramborn Cider from Luxembourg has just released six different limited edition ciders and one perry. I’m one of the lucky ones who received samples of these exquisite products. I’ll kick off with the Ramborn Vintage Luxembourg Perry 2017 harvest. As a refresher, Luxembourgish perry pears are famous for their high tannin content. Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Pears: traditional pear varieties including Nelchesbirne and Mostbirne
ABV: 6.1%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with an orange hue and a large short-lived white foam. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is strong and aromatic with notes of ripe pear, green apples, vinegar, bubblegum and herbal notes.

Taste: it begins lightly sweet with a strong tannic kick and very low acidity. Notes of ripe pears, low vinegary notes, a bit watery, strong astringency on the mid-palate. Finishes dry and quite fast with persistent astringency, a light note of caramel and a touch of fresh cucumber.

Overall: the astringency of Luxembourgish perry pears will never stop amazing me. The Ramborn perry starts with a strong tannic kick, which stays as the tannin is detectable throughout the whole sip. Sadly, the taste is short and finishes quickly. Only the mouth-puckering astringency stays almost forever. In addition, the perry tastes slightly watery. It’s not a bad offering but I have the impression that ageing didn’t do well to this perry.   Ramborn’s perry from their regular lineup is much more appealing. In summary, worth trying as the astringency is very special but the overall taste impression is unfortunately average. 3/6

Availability: in Luxembourg from Ramborn’s farm.

Price: Perry was sent to me by Ramborn Cider Co for testing.


Manoir du Grandouet Poiré Fermier

Manoir de Grandouet, a cidre producer from Normandy has also Poiré (French for perry) in the product range apart from Calvados and pommeau. Pears used for this Poiré grow between apple trees in their orchards near Cambremer. Their perry pears hat more acid than usual and have an astringent taste. After pressing, poiré is fermented for 3 months, subsequently bottled, where it undergoes the secondary fermentation.Company: Manoir de Grandouet
Place of Origin: Grandouet, Normandy, France
locally grown perry pears
Package type: 
750ml clear glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or flute

Appearance: pours a nearly clear yellow straw with a tiny white head that quickly dissipates. High carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and with notes of fresh pears, green apples, sulphur – like gunpowder. Hints of polyfloral honey.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Notes of green apple, star fruit, gooseberry, a touch of bitterness – caramel and burnt caramel, very gentle, barely detectable astringency. Finishes with a note of green apple and a hint of burnt caramel.

Overall: this is a very decent Poiré. It’s light, refreshing and elegant. Very nicely balanced with a good level of sweetness and acidity. Fruity notes of star fruit, gooseberry, lychee and green apple make it a very refreshing drop, which is rounded by caramel notes far in the background. Flavours move smoothly from one note to another, which resembles a well-played symphony. Only the note of sulphur – gunpowder-like is a bit too overpowering and steals the beauty of this Poiré. A nice drop that will go well with chicken, fish and Camembert. I loved it. 5/6

Availability: directly from Manoir de Grandouet

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucile from Manoir Grandouet

Manufaktura Cydru Perry – Limited Edition

Apart from their Perry – Wanilia i Kakao, Manufaktura Cydr based in Podolszyn near Warsaw released also a regular perry without any additions, the Perry – Limited Edition. This perry was inoculated with a specially selected yeast strain and slowly fermented at low temperature to retain fruit flavours and freshness. To reduce the acidity level, it was allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation.  Company: Manufaktura Cydru
Place of Origin: Podolszyn, Masovia, Poland
unknown pear varieties
Package type: 
750ml green glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy straw yellow with a quickly dissipating white head. Low carbonation. Body is low. Some sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is not strong and not complex but sour with strong notes of Sauerkraut and gunpowder/fireworks-like flavours of sulphur. 

Taste: it begins with a low residual sweetness and a low to medium acidity of Sauerkraut. Further on the palate, a watery taste, gunpowder/fireworks-like flavours of sulphur that linger on and again a note of Sauerkraut.  The finish is slightly sweet.

Overall: I think that the limited edition Perry from Manufaktura Cydru was also used as the base to make their Perry – Wanilia i Kakao, with vanilla and cocoa beans as the resemblance is striking. The notes of Sauerkraut and gunpowder/fireworks-like note of sulphur along with a watery taste are detectable in both perries. Luckily, I can’t taste here the disturbing note of stale cocoa beans. I thought it was drinkable, but due to the mentioned off-notes, it’s not going to be for everyone. In my opinion, Manufaktura Cydru can do much better than this. Please, don’t give up! 3/6

Availability: from Skrzynka Piwa in Warsaw. Perhaps other craft beer shops in Poland may still stock a bottle or two.

Price: a sample of the Perry was provided to me by Alek from Manufaktura Cydru

Dunkertons Perry

Dunkertons Perry was recently named one of the 10 best perries by Independent. It is made with perry pears carrying fabulous names such as Merrylegs, Red Horse, Moorcroft, Painted Lady or Thorn, all grown in unsprayed, organic orchards. On the label, you can find a statement that the fruit comes from EU/NON EU agriculture (see picture below). Intriguing. Company: Dunkertons
Place of Origin: Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK
Pears: perry pears including Merrylegs, Red Horse, Moorcroft, Painted Lady or Thorn grown in unsprayed, organic orchards coming from EU/NON EU agriculture
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: 500ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a white short-lived foam. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is medium strong. On the nose notes of pears, peach, vinegar, cloves, nail polish remover, leather with hints of funk,

Taste: my initial taste is low to medium sweetness with the low acidity of vinegar. Followed by a light bitterness and spiciness and notes of pears, cloves, high alcohols, nail polish remover. Finishes dry with a taste of pear with a very low astringency.

Overall: It looks like you can’t go wrong with Dunkertons. Even with their perry. Dunkerton’s Perry is smooth, complex, with a long-lasting taste. It’s not going to be everyone’s liking due to off notes of nail polish remover and vinegar though. So if you are sensitive to these flavours bear that in mind. Otherwise, a delicious drop that will go well with food. I had it with Saint Agur cheese and thought it was very tasty! But I was expecting more tannins, to be honest, and all I could get was a delicate touch of astringency. I just wonder where the fruit used to make this perry comes from. 4.5/6

Availability: in the UK through their online shop and their new facility in Cheltenham. Also from BristolCiderShop, CraftDrinkThe Belgian Beer Company or Beers of Europe. In the Netherlands look out for Ciderwinkel and Appels en Peren. In Switzerland from Ciderhouse.ch. In Estonia from Siidrimaja. In Copenhagen from Holm Cider. In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur.

Price: Dunkertons Browns was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

Hills Cider Pear

This time I’m reviewing the Pear Cider made entirely from Australian pears by the Hills Cider Company based in Adelaide Hills, Australia.Company: The Hills Cider Company
Place of Origin: North Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Pears: Adelaide Hills pears
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a small head, which quickly reduces to a ring. Medium carbonated. Body is light.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose notes of wood and sweet pear. The aroma is rather weak.

Taste: it begins medium sweet and low acidity with a distant acetic note. Also, flavours of honey, ripe pears with a hint of wood. No tannins perceivable.

no astringency, some wood.   not overly sweet, but too sweet.

Overall: the Hills Pear is drinkable, but I’d say it is rather an average naturally tasting pear cider. I know that I will quickly forget about it as the taste is not special or unique like e.g. the Perry from Ramborn Cider. It is clearly made from dessert pears. If you are looking for something challenging then Hills Pear will not be your thing. For those who prefer their perry on the sweeter side and are looking for a drinkable and naturally tasting alternative to industrial pear ciders. 3/6

Availability: broad in Australia in South East Asia. In Europe available through CiderCider.

Price: had a bottle at 24 RM (4.7 EUR) in Ales & Lagers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Manufaktura Cydru Perry Kakao i Wanilia

Apart from cider, Dorota and Alek from Polish Manufaktura Cydru have also two perries in their product range. One is made only with pears and released as their limited edition, whereas the second one is made with vanilla (‘wanilia’ is Polish for vanilla) and cocoa beans (‘kakao’ is Polish for cocoa). I’m going to review the latter today as I haven’t seen such an interesting flavour combination even in the US. 
 Manufaktura Cydru
Place of Origin: Podolszyn, Masovia, Poland
pears, vanilla and cocoa beans
Package type: 
330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: chalice glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy straw yellow with a large white head that quickly dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is low. Some sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is sour with strong notes of Sauerkraut and less vinegar. A hint of cocoa and gunpowder (must be sulphur) but no vanilla. 

Taste: my first taste is only slightly sweet with a low to medium acidity of Sauerkraut, followed by notes of sulphur-like matches and less of pears and a watery flavour. Finishes with a sweetish note and distant notes of stale cocoa beans.

Overall: I still have a good memory of the delicious Scrumpy made by Manufaktura Cydru. That’s why it breaks my heart to say that their Perry Wanilia i Kakao is a very weak drop. Manufaktura Cydru’s Perry is very rustic on the nose and on the palate with many off-notes including Sauerkraut and fireworks/gunpowder-like notes of sulphur. Also, the taste is short, disappears quickly and is rather dull. Flavours don’t linger on. The concept of adding vanilla and cocoa might not be bad but I can’t taste any vanilla, whereas instead of cocoa there is a flavour of stale cocoa beans, which perhaps adds complexity but is unpleasant. I’m really sorry guys but this offering requires a lot of further work. 2.5/6

Availability: from Skrzynka Piwa in Warsaw. Perhaps other craft beer shops in Poland may still stock a bottle or two.

Price: a sample of the Perry Wanilia i Kakao was provided to me by Alek from Manufaktura Cydru.

Hogan’s Vintage Perry 2014

For this perry, Hogan’s used perry pears grown in the Three Counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. In 2016, the editors of the Independent selected top ten perries and Hogan’s Vintage Perry 2014 was named one of the top ten.Company: Hogan’s Cider
Place of Origin: Alcester, Warwickshire, UK
Ingredients: English perry pear juice, water, sugar, carbon dioxide, malic acid, preservative: potassium metabisulphite (sulphites)
ABV: 5.4%
Package type: 500ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a small, immediately dissipating white fizz. Medium and artificial carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose has dominating notes of caramel and toffee with yellow apples, but no pears.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet and light buttery with a light sourness of malic acid. On the mid-palate some smokiness with low astringency and a watery taste. The aftertaste has hints of caramelised sugar, a bitter note and a hint of banana. 

Overall: briefly,  it tastes like a liquid caramel candy with some butterscotch and some sour taste to it. Although sometimes the increase of acidity admittedly may contribute to perry’s taste, the addition of malic acid to this particular perry doesn’t help much. You can actually taste that this acidity simply doesn’t belong here. Also, it finishes relatively quick. Interestingly, it doesn’t have a taste of pears, only yellow apples. Nevertheless, I think that Hogan’s Perry can be appreciated by a wider audience. It’s not overly sweet, but also not too dry. So if you’re expecting a pleasant no-brainer, then this perry will meet your expectations. I think it can be likeable but it’s just not my style. 3/6 

Availability: from their online shop. In Germany exclusively from Cider Kultur.

Price: Hogan’s Vintage Perry 2014 was a sample provided by Cider Kultur, a recently opened webshop run by two cider aficionados offering a selection of great cider.