Blackthorn gold cider review (7/10) ” not a medium dry but some pleasantly powered acidity”
“Very pleasant and not overpowering acidity”
” Good value and practical”
” Lack of attributes including dryness, carbonation and sweetness”
” Other than acid no real indication of fruit”
The packaging is a split colour bottle with a combination of gold on it’s upper extremity with black on it’s base. Perched upon the T of the blackthorn label is the top of a tree. This is clearly intended to be the hardy blackthorn tree used to produce the apples for this cider. These supposedly increase in sweetness through enduring harsher winters or so the website suggests. Perhaps therefore for better cans of blackthorn, you may have a reason to respect the rain and snow throughout the dicier weather of the winter months.
The cans are often sold as four packs from retailers, with the cheapest I could find from Asda at £3.15. This is still 15p dearer than prices began at the start of the year in the coop which is a shame. At this price however it still appears to be great value.
Every 440ml can contains 2.1 units at 4.7% by volume of alcohol. This makes the cider certainly fairly dilute, with many competitors such as Thatchers oak-aged vintage sitting at a punchy 7.4%.
It is however marginally more concentrated than Stowford press at 4.5 % but since this has larger cans it still works out at 2.3 units. This suggests lower practicality for a couple of cans in the evening since 4.6 units is a little over the recommended limit.
Clearly then in this case thought has gone into production size since blackthorn barely puts you over recommended limits for regular consumption of 2 cans. Price wise this equates to £1.58 which is cheaper than Orchard for 2 at £1.70 and others such as Cornish rattler at £2.00 per bottle.
For this price and practicality therefore blackthorn gold seems like a great drink. Whilst it’s origin is boasted on the forefront of the can as Somerset, the story behind the location and apples used is not labelled on each can. Whilst this is a little disappointing the eye-catching packaging encourages you to look it up and read more.
It turns out this Somerset cider is produced in a cider mill in Shepton mallet and has been since 1972. The website with the can suggest a sweet taste experience can be expected which is distinctive and crisp.
Interestingly like the Cornish rattler ” the panda”, this cider does not specify the expected dryness although does indicate the use of English cider apples. Typical varieties used widely in the West Country such as Dabinett and Michelin are bittersweet medium dry types so this perhaps is a good place to start the dryness expectations. On further inspection, the website does specify this confirming my suspicions. This should be more clearly indicated however. Also confirmed is the place of origin but only on the 500ml cans which seems a little inconsistent.
On opening a quick fizz occurs before a snap of the cap. Following this, confident bubbles rise upwards for a number of seconds only gradually fading to silence to indicate spritely carbonation. Upon smelling, a very smooth smell emerges without a yeasty presence. A moderate acidity level can be detected only on the first couple of sniffs however. After this the smell was no longer apparent.
The taste emerges with a couple of sips as a nicely acidic cider possessing a subtle, yet pleasant tang. This tangy note persists pleasantly on the aftertaste and steadily builds with time. The acidity does not overpower however, since it is balanced with a reasonable level of watery feel. The sharpness does not seem balanced with any real sweetness and even on swirling only limited carbonation is apparent.
For a medium-dry no dryness is present after a sip, with the cider possessing a slightly moist feel. This is rather pleasant to my taste but is not what the brand leaves you expecting. One of the key strengths of this cider is that it’s surprisingly consistent and smooth throughout each and every sip making it rather drinkable.
A cider which provides enough tangy acidity to give a very pleasant taste sensation. Balance with sweetness was lacking due to it’s absence. No dryness was apparent like the brand suggested and the carbonation did not shine through. No real impression of fruit could be gathered through tasting. Overall then, an eye-catching brand which did not live up to it’s image. A cider taste sensation relying on acidity but lacking the panache to provide sweetness, carbonation, fruitiness or any real dryness to balance.