Premium vintage cider 2015 from Herefordshire by Jonathan Blair ( H. Weston and sons) review (6.5/10)
The black label contrasts with the white text beautifully with a subtle gold to match the amber hue of the fluid. The font is traditional to match the vintage theme. On the corner is the bit that gets you !
Clearly labelled but skewed around the periphery is the announcement for 7.3 percent volume !
Since the bottle is 750ml this equates to 5.5 UK units. There is a bright side though since it provides a conversion to half a pint which equates to 4.2 units which can be calculated simply by doubling the labelled 2.1 for a half. This makes 1 pint roughly equal to the upper limit of the daily recommended quantity of alcohol.
Convenient, especially if you manage to find this on draught in a pub … Seems unlikely in Worcester though anyway but all the same. I endeavour to consume half therefore to stay well within safe limits since 7.3 percent is more concentrated that my usual tipple.
Whilst the drink appears pricey from the Lavish black, white and gold packaging assuming 2 servings at £1.69 it works out cheaper than a 4 pack of typical canned cider such as blackthorn currently at £3.50 in the coop. This is because if you consumed 2 cans of blackthorn this would equate to the limit also so you would only get 2 servings out of a 4 pack due to a lower alcohol percentage. This would cost £1.75 per serving versus the 84.5p per serving of westons.
On opening with a firm twist and snap of the cap, a short fizz emerges effervescent with the odd upsurging comet of a bubble. The bubbles are clearly visible just shy of the top label. The fizz is ephemeral and quickly fades away.
You rest your nose on the rim and breath in a quickly fading, rather acidic scent. The scent just cuts off as if to say :
“If you want me, you are going to have to take the plunge”.
Perhaps the lack of a long lasting or especially punchy scent is the result of a longer fermentation process. I did hear murmurings of this on Internet sites for brewing and the vintage label suggests longer storage which could also contribute to the fermentation process potentially.
After going back for a second whiff there is certainly not a hint of yeasty scent present as is the case in some of the cheaper cans I have smelt such as blackthorn gold.
After a while of drinking, the scent out of a clear glass becomes almost like nail varnish . This is less pleasant than the initial scent.
After a few glugs accompanying a tip of the bottle, the cider enters my mouth. After a swirl of the bubbles around my mouth basin, the fizzy element becomes clear. The drink has an acidic feel to it and has very limited sweetness.
The variety from the outset appears as a dryer cider since the taste cuts off without leaving a moist refreshing feel to your mouth. This again in a similar way to thatchers haze makes the drink more morish in an attempt to achieve a moist feel which never comes.
Whilst this may be good for selling drinks I have come to prefer a more moist feel so this cider appears a little too dry for my palette. The lack of sweetness compared even to thatchers haze leaves me longing a little sugar to wet my appetite. This is probably because thatchers haze is made with the sweetest Somerset apples whilst this premium vintage variety from westons and sons is made from bittersweet apples instead. You do however get the acidity which to me creates a little excitement if also a little dental erosion.
This along with the dryness are the ciders key selling points which it does well. The acidity is not overpowering but is noticeable and the dryness does make the drink drinkable meaning you do actually feel the urge to go back for subsequent glugs.
This suggests that whilst the taste sensation lacks some of the perks which I look for in a great tasting cider, it does well what it is meant to as a medium dry variety and therefore cannot be penalised for that.
The alcohol effect is effective and is accompanied by a warm sensation typical from stronger distilled alcohol varieties. It is a Shame that this warmth is accompanied by a straight bitter nail polish remover, acetone-like aftertaste which is unpleasant still after 4 units. The drink does leave a mature impression however, due to some bitterness and acidity which helps separate it from the realms of sugary or Appley varieties which resemble non alcoholic drinks such as appleade or juice.
Overall then, a moderately acidic, pleasantly effervescent golden dry cider which leaves your mouth thirsty for more. A pleasant bottle creates a quality feel which the cider possesses and achieves for a certain taste preference. The cider is a good medium dry but would benefit from a little sweetness to balance the dryness in my opinion.
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