Ramborn Apple and Pear Blend Cider 2017

Today’s review is about the Apple & Pear Blend crafted by Ramborn Cider Co from Luxembourg. As the name already indicates, it is a blend of apples and pears coming from Meadow Orchard harvested in 2017. Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Fruit: apples and pears
ABV: 7.4%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden and a large short-lived white foam. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: moderately strong, ripe pear, vinegar, white wine, a hint of ripe yellow apples. lightly sweetish. pear in vinegar. Pear is dominating.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a touch of sweetness, low acidity of lemon and vinegar. Low persistent bitterness (in the beginning), ripe pear, white wine, low caramel and very low astringency. Finishes with herbal notes of martini bianco with oily thyme and distant Sauerkraut.

Overall: this year has started with some strange tasting ciders. This is the second one after the recently reviewed, Na de Val from Antidoot. While I enjoyed the Na de Val very much, I can’t say this about the Apple & Perry Blend 2017 from Ramborn. It has a structure and complexity, but unfortunately, it’s not a good composition. The persistent bitterness along with moderate vinegary & lemon acidity and grassy, vermouth-like taste make this cider taste unpleasant. I didn’t like it. I shared this bottle with a friend, who shared my opinion. She thought it tasted rather strange and very unpleasant. We didn’t manage to drink the whole bottle. It breaks my heart as I really do like the Ramborn team, but their Apple & Pear Blend 2017 is not a good offering. Sorry, guys. 2/6

Availability: in Luxembourg from Ramborn’s farm.

Price: Apple & Pear Blend was sent to me by Ramborn Cider Co for testing.

Ramborn Apple and Quince Blend 2017

It’s time to turn to Ramborn cider that was made in 2017 in combination with quince. It’s their limited edition cider.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Fruit: apples and quinces
ABV: 7%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden and a huge white foam that slowly reduces to a ring. High carbonation. Body is medium. Sediment on the bottom.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong. Notes of wood, unidentified fruits, mirabelle plum, quince, banana and yeast.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a touch of sweetness, low acidity of lemon. Smokiness, low to medium astringency, distant apricot, watery, a bit yeasty. Finishes with a touch of astringency, herbal notes, low bitterness and off-taste of yeast.

Overall: my first time trying this cider was at Cider Gourmet in Frankfurt at CiderWorld2019. I loved its fruitiness and low residual sweetness that rounded up the taste. But judging by the taste of the currently sampled cider, fermentation must have kicked in again making this cider highly carbonated, taste bone dry and yeasty. Unfortunately, for this review, I should evaluate a bottle that was sent to me by Ramborn not cider I had at Cider Gourmet. And, the content of a bottle of Apple and Quince Blend 2017 that was provided by Ramborn is weak. The nose is not rich. The palate is unbalanced, a bit yeasty, not really fruity and with a rather short finish. It’s drinkable but drinking is not entertaining like it was at Cider Gourmet. So I think it would be fair to give two scores. Cider at CiderGourmet would get most probably 4.5 (based on my memories) but this particular bottle sent me for a review gets only 2/6. 

Availability: in Luxembourg from Ramborn’s farm.

Price: Apple & Quince Blend was sent to me by Ramborn Cider Co.

Ramborn Single Malt Whisky Barrel Aged 2016

After the Ramborn Vintage Luxembourg Perry 2017, I’m going to sample cider that was made with Luxembourgish apples pressed in 2016, blended and subsequently aged in a single malt whisky barrel.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: Luxembourgish apple varieties
ABV: 9.4%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber/golden with no head. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is strong and aromatic with notes of wood, vanilla, coconut, smokiness, alcohol and a hint of pineapple and mirabelle plums.

Taste: it starts dry with a moderate acidity of lemon. Further notes mirabelle plum, burnt caramel, a touch of bitterness, smokiness, vanilla. Finishes dry with a touch of lemon, caramel, wood and hint of ripe juicy apricots.

Overall: I know what you’re thinking. Cider aged in whisky barrel must taste brilliant.  Well, not exactly. You can clearly taste the impact of ageing in the barrel as you get notes of wood, vanilla, smokiness, pineapple and coconut. But only fruity notes of mirabelle plum and ripe juicy apricots reveal that it was actually cider aged in that single malt whisky barrel. It’s very rich in terms of flavours and interestingly they come and go. In that sense, it is a quality product. But I found it a bit overdone. The influence of barrel ageing on aroma and taste is too strong and masks the taste of the fruit. I think it’s good. Many will find it fantastic though. 4/6

Availability: in Luxembourg from Ramborn’s farm.

Price: Single Malt Whisky Barrel Aged 2016 Harvest was provided by Ramborn Cider Co.

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.

Ramborn Somerset Blend

Cider has deep roots in Somerset, UK. This is indisputable. But Luxembourg, this tiny country bordering Germany, France and Belgium, has also a beautiful tradition related to the beverage made from fermented apples called locally ‘viez’. So why not combine Somerset and Luxembourg cider heritage together in one bottle? That’s how the Somerset Blend was created, a blend of traditional apple varieties of these two regions, Luxembourg and Somerset.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: a blend of Luxembourgish and English apples
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with an amber hue and a small quickly dissipating white head. Almost no carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose notes of caramel, yellow and red apples, ripe fresh yellow apples, apple stems and oak with a hint of herbal notes.

Taste: it begins moderately dry with a low acidity. Subsequently, a strong astringent taste gets more prevalent on the taste with a light bitterness of burnt caramel, ripe yellow apples, yellow and red apples and pears. Finishes dry with a light bitterness, a note of burnt caramel, light woody with a touch of yellow apples.

Overall: if I were to create a cider that would be an ode to Somerset and its cider but with a Luxembourgish twist I would have created it exactly like this. Quite strong, but moreish tannins, notes of caramel with lovely lingering apple notes. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Ramborn’s Somerset Blend is a complex and easily drinkable cider offering a journey in the glass from Luxembourg to the English Somerset. I loved it. And, you’re gonna love it too. 4.5/6

Availability: all over Luxembourg. In Germany from The Hop Shop Trier and online through Ciderei. In the Netherlands from CiderCider. In Italy from Sidro&Cider. In Switzerland through Ciderhouse.ch. In the UK through Crafty Nectar. In Belgium from Fermenthings.

Price: Somerset Blend was a sample provided by Adie from Ramborn Cider Co.

Ramborn Hopped Cider Cascade 2016

Hopped Cider is becoming a thing also in Europe now. Started a while ago in the US, now hopped cider is becoming more and more in demand from consumers also in “the Old Continent”. Following this trend, Ramborn created a cider with Cascade hops.

Cascade hops were discovered in the 1960ties in Oregon as USDA 56013 but released only in 1972 when import prices of noble hops from Germany went to the roof due to a hop disease. Cascade is the hop that gave rise to the craft beer movement in the US and is one of the most popular hops among craft brewers.  Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Ingredients: local apples and Cascade hops from Oregon (US)
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7.4%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with amber hues and a tiny short-lived white head. Almost no carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is not rich, but quite powerful with notes of elderflower, pear and green notes and hay.

Taste: my first taste is medium dry, medium acidity, smoky note, low to medium astringency, lemon, elderflower, crisp red apple and green apple. it finishes dry with a distant bitter note and a touch of green or unripe apple.

Overall: Ramborn’s Hopped Cascade is a definitely rich cider with depth and structure. But I must agree with Cider Says who reviewed Ramborn’s Hopped Cider a few months back. Indeed, this is a pleasant cider but doesn’t stand out like some of the ciders from the Ramborn’s range such as the Original, Farmhouse of Erbachhofer. The influence of hops is slightly stronger, the flavour of cider is much less noticeable. Perhaps not dominating, but still powerful. Long story short, for me there is not enough apple in this cider. But I think that those who like their cider hopped will be more than satisfied.  4/6

Availability: all over Luxembourg. In Germany from The Hop Shop Trier. In the Netherlands from CiderCider. In Italy from Sidro&Cider. In the UK through Crafty Nectar.

Price: Hopped Cider Cascade 2016 was a sample provided by Adie from Ramborn Cider Co.

Ramborn Kingston Black

No, Kingston Black is not an apple variety typical for Luxembourg. Kingston Black comes actually from Kingston, near Taunton, Somerset, the UK and produces a bittersharp juice, which is just splendid for making cider. It contains a nice balance of tannins, sugar and acids, which make this apple variety suitable for single-varietal cider. But how did Kingston Black end up in Luxembourg? It’s easy. Ramborn has entered into a collaboration with Peter Mitchell, who is an internationally renowned cider and perry authority.

Kingston Black is a limited edition cider from Ramborn Cider. Only 3000 bottles were produced. I’m trying one of them. Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: single variety Kingston Black
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7.3%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter
Ingredients: contains sorbic acid

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a little quickly dissipating white head. Almost no carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is slightly sweet with an acidic touch and exhibits notes of red and yellow apples, caramel, butter toffee, juicy fresh apple with a hint of green apples.

Taste: the first sip is moderately sweet with a faintly watery note and low acidity. Subsequently, a hint of green apple, red apple, freshly pressed red apple juice, crisp apple with a delicate astringent taste appears. It ends with an apple seed, apple stems, and a lingering caramel-like bitterness, which moves to a red apple taste. It has a spicy alcohol bite to it and tastes lightly chalky as well.

Overall: Kingston Black tastes like a cross between English cider and German cider (not to confuse with German Apfelwein). It’s a good drop, but not mind-blowing simply because the alcohol burn in the aftertaste doesn’t allow you to appreciate lovely initial tastes of crisp apple, red and green apples with caramel. Due to the alcohol burn, I have the impression that Kingston Black is slightly out of balance so I think I prefer Ramborn’s experiments with local fruits than with English cider apples. Summarizing, the Kingston Black is a nice tipple with a kick. 4/6

Availability: since it is a special edition cider the availability might be limited to Ramborn’s farm. In Germany available perhaps from The Hop Shop Trier.

Price: Kingston Black was sent to me by Adie from Ramborn Cider Co.