Henry Westons “Medium-dry” oak aged vintage cider 2016 (8.25/10)
” Great value and distinctive branding”.
” Pleasant warming aftertaste and carbonation”.
” Full-bodied with an enjoyable tang”.
” Balanced drink without astringency”.
” Lack of fruity flavour and sweetness”.
” Not medium dry as described”.
” Lack of blurb or backstory”.
Straight away from the golden-fonted label, surrounding an image of Henry Weston himself you can see that Westons is proud of it’s history and founder. The design seemed appropriate for this as it did with the steamroller of old Rosie and the classic scene depicted on the scrumpy cloudy bottle.
The oak aged statement and year of vintage gave a suggestion of a lengthy maturation process and perhaps a stronger alcohol content.
This was affirmed on the front at 6.5% alongside the bottle capacity of 500ml.
On turning the bottle, the units at 3.3 was revealed which kept things sensible assuming only one bottle was consumed for the evening. This is regarding cost and alcohol consumption level.
The place of origin is labelled as the Much marcle farm near Ledbury as is the case for other Westons’ ciders. The establishment year was clearly labelled as usual on the bottleneck with 1880. This supported this traditional cider producers heritage.
What was somewhat surprising was the lack of blurb from a cider producer so seeped in tradition. Old Rosie by contrast, had a fairly lengthy backstory and many other ciders do have a description of the sensory characteristics expected from the drink.
Whilst that appeared as a slight let down, the classy bottle appearance with reasonable cost and practicality; Priced at just £1.39 from Aldi (whilst on special-buy), meant that this still exuded a positive impression. It appeared as the only Henry westons available from Aldi at this price however with others such as ” Extra dry” “Medium sweet” and “Vintage with variable years”, appearing currently more elusive.
There is also a family reserve addition but this seems to be exclusively available on draught.
On inspection of the website it announced expectations for full bodied and traditional character aswell as ” special character and flavour”. The latter was mostly attributed to the maturation in oak vats. The bottle announced medium dryness suggesting this was also expected.
A non-watery, flavoursome and slightly dry cider was expected therefore. Wether it lives up to this expectation, I was soon to find out.
On opening, a small collection of bubbly froth was present on the cusp of the liquid. The scent was natural and fruity yet not oversweet giving an impression of acidity. The head slowly dissipated but still left this familiar yet weak scent lingering for many subsequent breaths.
The feel in your mouth was highly pleasant with full bodied character and a satisfactory level of carbonation. The aftertaste quickly began to give some warmth suggesting the strength of the alcohol was reasonable. The cider didn’t appear to give much artificial sweetness although there was certainly an appealing essence of sweet apple in the flavour.
The level of acidity was very nice and certainly noticeable, yet not overpowering.
There appeared to be a slight lack of character to the flavour except a tang and aftertaste to partially disguise a little disappointment. The scent of fruit did not appear strongly reflected in the flavour and there wasn’t anything with finesse in the main taste. The warming aftertaste however also had an impression of maturity which was positive but only emphasised lack of other positives except tang and carbonation.
With stronger ciders, there is sometimes an element of astringency ( bitterness) although thankfully this appeared absent here. This suggested good balance since sweetness may well have cancelled this bitterness out.
A pleasantly carbonated, tangy drink with an enjoyable, characterful and warming aftertaste. A full-bodied, non medium dry without the tasting rigours of a unique cider.