Sxollie cider -( Mono varietal golden delicious) review (8.5/10) ” Sweet, hip, fruity but expensive”.
” Brilliant branding and logo with (urban meets rural) “.
” Natural, fruity and sweet flavour”.
” Well balanced carbonation with subtle acidity”.
” Full-bodied drink”.
” Good bottle design”.
” Costly to achieve close to the limit”.
” Acidity too subtle”.
” Blurb with a backstory is not written on the bottle … Be proud”.
There was nothing on the Sxollie website to indicate history or tradition yet mostly a combination of hip, young and fun. I did manage to locate an article though on (probably an unreliable website) with the brand founders Karol and Laura.
Laura had written this article which claimed her and her partner had established the brand following their previous life in Australia. This happened 3 years ago suggesting Sxollie as a company was established in South Africa in 2014.
The only African cider I had previously sampled was Savannah which was fairly enjoyable. My expectations were therefore not lacking for a different, yet satisfying drink. Savannah in my review scored an 8/10 for it’s acidity and subtle carbonation yet was a little lacking in sweetness. This was however a solid score so I was certainly ready to sample this brand and all it had to offer.
With Savannah apparently being established since 1996, this made Sxollie it’s younger cousin.
On the website, Sxollie was instantly described as possessing a playful and opportunistic spirit. The same spirit that it’s origin in urban Africa possesses. It goes on to describe how you should release your inner rebel suggesting a youngsters fashionable cider product.
Stay focused and be bold with ambition is also suggested promoting being outgoing and getting the most out of life. This creates the impression of energy, fashion and active enjoyment. Not the storyline you’d expect from anything dull or watery.
On scrolling it describes itself as a single variety craft cider, and the word Sxollie to mean scallywag in English. It discussed the apples used and sourcing from the orchards of Elgin in the Cape Town region.
The prominent ‘X’ logo present on the bottle is suggested to be a traditional pottery design used ubiquitously across South Africa. It also appeared to attempt to bring rural agriculture and natural quality to an on-trend, more urban setting which sounds good.
The sensory traits were described as light carbonation with elegant, fruity flavour. These attributes were grounded in maturation with the steel tanks used and champagne yeasts; Whether these make a difference I am sceptical, although I will be looking for a comparison with the pleasant complexity and tang of Capel road blend No. 5 which also claims the use of steel tanks.
The golden delicious monovarietal segment of the page added the words floral, balanced and the first that was produced, suggesting this cider was a fitting one to review initially.
Whilst I managed to purchase on offer from Waitrose, Sxollie would typically cost £1.99 from there for just a small 330 ml bottle. At 4.5% strength and just 1.5 units per bottle this is not great value and rather expensive considering not many supermarkets appear to stock it. Additionally 2 would be required to fully satiate, for the lower end of the 3-4 unit daily recommended limit. If indeed Worcester-stocked cider is anything to go by.
On opening the primary scent was rather pungent and definitely fruity and sweet. It had a pleasant natural freshness supporting the elegant, fruity and natural attributes reported by the website.
On swirling, significant bubbles were released promoting the subtle carbonation suggested which appeared rather pleasant. On a subsequent sip there was definitely a fruity burst of apple. The flavour was pleasantly sweet yet not sickly. A subtle yet pleasant acidity was apparent which left a sharp tangy aftertaste keeping interest sustained.
The drink was certainly not watery and could be safely described as full bodied. The lack of dryness expectations announced on the bottle or website left me eagerly anticipating this product sensation. It was pleasantly moist and was not a dry cider. This was not claimed however suggesting comfortable brand loyalty.
A pleasantly fruity and sweet drink with a great natural and organic feel. The branding for young enthusiasm and excitement was great and certainly came across when consuming a natural product intended for an urban market. The cost was rather high and the lack of information or backstory on the bottle was a little disappointing. Dryness was pleasantly low yet acidity was a little subtle. Carbonation was sufficient to balance the fruity taste however.
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