Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Vintage Scrumpy

After the everyone’s favourite the Black Dragon (see the review here) the Farmhouse Vintage Scrumpy is another cider from this Welsh cider maker that I have the pleasure to sample. The Farmhouse Vintage Scrumpy has picked up a number of awards in the UK and Australia. 
Company:
Gwynt y Ddraig Cider and Perry Company
Place of Origin: Pontypridd, Wales, UK
Apples: cider apples grown by traditional methods in ageing orchards
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 5.3%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear orange with no head. Low petillant-type carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is dominated by sulphur, with notes of red apples in the background and caramel. This is all I picked up.

Taste: it begins with a high amount of caramel-like sweetness, which classifies this cider in my opinion rather as sweet than medium. The acidity level is low and lemon-like. Similarly as on the nose, a hint of sulphur with notes of red apple and apple juice. The finish has a low to moderate astringent taste with a refreshing note of crisp apple.

Overall: a sulphur note is not exactly my favourite flavour. Especially, if the sulphur flavour dominates the aroma, thus simply acting as a turn-off to me. The palate is much better than the nose overpowered by sulphur as it comes with a pleasant apple forward taste. But still, I can’t call this flavour not superb. In addition, I found the level of sweetness way too high to my liking. But again, if you don’t mind the sulphur flavour and you have a sweet tooth you may find this cider refreshing. Personally, I wouldn’t buy it again. 3/6

Availability: from their online shop. in the UK from BeerRitz, Dylans Wine, N.D. John Wine Merchants, Mumbles Fine Wine, Blas Ar Fwyd , CWM Deri, The Old Railway Line.In Finland from Alko.fi.  In Berlin from Hopfen & Malz. Online in Germany from Cider and More. in the Netherlands from Het Ciderhuis, Speciaalbierenwinkel.nl, Biernavigatie.

Price: purchased locally in Berlin from Hopfen & Malz at 3.5 EUR.

Ty Gwyn Medium Dry

Ty Gwyn from Wales (and previously Latvian Mr. Plume) proves that a combination of music and cider making is simply perfect as both take passion. Before focusing on cider making, Alex Curpin of Ty Gwyn played in a band called Tiny Monroe and supported The Pretenders, Radiohead and Suede at the Glastonbury Festival near Pilton, Somerset. I can imagine that Alex tried cider from the Brothers at Glastonbury, which inspired him to craft a much better cider.

Company: Ty Gwyn Cider
Place of Origin: Pontrilas, Herefordshire, UK
Apples: Yarlington Mill
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 5.8%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with an orange hue and a little quickly dissipating white head. Light carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong, aromatic and sweet with notes of caramel, red apples, bittersweet apples, butterscotch, liquid toffee, polyfloral honey and earthy notes.

Taste: it starts with medium sweetness of caramel and low acidity. On the mid-palate notes of bittersweet apples, red apples, baked apples, caramel, light to medium astringency. Finishes dry with a light burnt caramel, low alcohol and polyfloral honey.

Overall: The Medium Dry from Ty Gwyn tastes light but still extremely complex so I would never tell that it is a single varietal cider. It has a lingering taste with beautiful caramel notes, smooth tannins and a flavour of baked apples. It basically tastes like a liquid toffee. Personally, I’d prefer a bit higher acidity level. But my friend who I shared the bottle with thought the Medium Dry tasted simply perfect. A very decent drop for the fans of liquid butterscotch. Now I understand why it has such a wide appeal. 5/6

Availability: in the UKfrom their online shop, Crafty Nectar, Hop Pocket Wine Company, Fetch the Drinks.  In Germany exclusively from CiderKultur.

Price: Ty Gwyn’s Medium Dry was a sample provided by CiderKultur.

 

 

 

 

Apple County Cider Co Dabinett 2015

Apple County Cider Co is a relatively young cider company, established only in 2014 at Whitehouse Farm, near Skenfrith in Monmouthshire, Wales, very close to the English/Welsh border. The company might be young, but not the apple cider orchards, which were planted in 1969 by Ben Culpin’s stepfather. Today Ben, together with his wife Steph, runs a successful family business and produce award-winning ciders, including International Cider Challenge medals (Bronze, Silver and Gold) for flavour and branding and a prestigious Great Taste Awards “Golden Fork” for overall best food and drink product from across Wales
Company: Apple County Cider Co
Place of Origin: Monmouthshire, Wales, UK
Apples: made from a single variety Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with orange hues and no head. Lightly carbonated. The body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: it smells of fermented red apples with caramel and cinnamon. A hint of alcohol is perceivable.

Taste: It starts medium sweet with low acidity and a hint of smoky ham. On the mid-palate notes of cinnamon and some spices with red apples, apple skins. The finish is dry and moderately astringent with a light touch of bitterness to the end. Alcohol is slightly perceivable giving one the warming effect.

Overall: You can easily say without even looking at the label that high-quality bittersweet apples were used for this cider. Apple Cider Co’s Dabinett reminds me slightly of another Welsh cider, the Black Dragon from Gwynt y Ddraig. However, the Dabinett has much better structure and a pleasant aftertaste. Perhaps a tiny bit too sweet for my liking, but I honestly think that it is a great pour and would appeal to practically everyone. However, due to the warming effect coming from the alcohol I think it can be considered a very good option for winter evenings. Eventually for a cold summer evening. Anyway, Apple County Cider Co’s Dabinett is definitely worth a purchase! 4.5/6 

Availability: haven’t come across a shop outside the UK selling their cider. So the UK only, on the farm and from the online shop or This is Beer.co.uk.

Price: came with my craft cider subscription from Orchard Box

Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon

Gwynt Y Ddraig Welsh Cider (Welsh for the Dragon’s wind) is the largest cider producer in Wales, UK. Cider has been produced on the farm since 2004 and various cider types have received many awards since then. Today I am sampling the Black Dragon, the Overall Champion from the Hereford Championships in 2010.
Gwynt y ddraig Black Dragon.jpg

Company: Gwynt y Ddraig Cider and Perry Company
Place of Origin: Pontypridd, Wales, UK
Apples: cider apples grown by traditional methods in aging orchards
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear, golden amber with orange hues and a thin ring along glass walls. Low petillant-type carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: Unexpectedly the aroma is dominated by sweet notes of caramel, ripe and fermenting apples, apple skins and apple pie. There are also hints of white wine and vanilla. I can also perceive a hint of booze.

Taste: The first taste has medium sweetness with caramel and vanilla notes. The sweetness is followed then by moderate acidity coming from tart apples. The medium taste has low bitter notes. The finish is rich but to my disappointment very short. Dry and light watery finish has cinnamon like spiciness with a touch of baked apple and green notes. Booze like taste is perceivable throughout the whole sip.

Overall: I expected more from an award-winning cider. I admit that the Black Dragon is complex and that the caramel and spicy cinnamon notes are quite unique. But something is just missing here. And the rich in flavors but the short finish is really disappointing. The Black Dragon is just not my thing. 3.5/6

Availability: quite broad. In Wales, you shouldn’t experience any issues finding Gwynt y Ddraig ciders. In other parts of Europe, they should be also available through beer shops selling craft beer.

Price: purchased locally in Berlin from Hopfen & Malz at 3.5 EUR.