Heston from Waitrose spiced mulled cider review (8.5/10) as alcohol (7.5/10) as cider “Unique, punchy, spicy alcohol. maybe a cider”.
“Pleasant warming tang and punchy spicy smell”.
” Great value and branding”.
” Full-bodied as necessary with strong flavour”.
” Pleasantly warming and spicy taste”.
” Lack of carbonation or sweetness”.
” Would be nice to have tang from acidity”.
” Apple is not the star of the show”.
” Is this actually a cider ?”.
Described by Waitrose as being based on a Herefordshire Oak-aged cider, a touch from Heston Blumenthal is evident with spices such as cloves, cinnamon and ginger. My usual style is not to review ciders which have been messed about with. Those Old mout and Koppabergesque ciders which have supposedly been enhanced by other fruit. These appear to me to not be real ciders since they are not based on apples as I feel cider always used to be.
I was therefore debating not including this cider in my review compilation, however, since it is not based on any fruit other than apple and is called mulled cider this feels acceptable.
It was also reduced from £4.99 for the 750ml bottle to just £1 so I simply could not resist the purchase. At 5.5% volume this equated to 4.1 units, making things highly practical for consumption level and only a touch over recommended limits at this price.
Putting this in perspective it was just as cheap as Capel road number 5 and the cheapest bottled cider I have ever tried.
Additionally the drink did not have any taste expectations for dryness, carbonation, acidity or sweetness which suggested a certain element of mystery or creativity. I would expect similar traits to Westons’ cider due to it’s Herefordshire origin and their usual abundance of oak-aged drinks. This meant I was expecting medium dryness, subtle or no carbonation and reasonable acidity levels.
There was not a dedicated website or announcement of it’s history which suggested a pretty new trial product. Due to mixed positive and negative reviews online this created an interesting proposition. The image on the front of the wine- shaped bottle depicting a goat in a blue suit whilst intriguing, was quite odd. With a practical screw cap and silver/white label this was not in-keeping with any kind of theme and didn’t open easily.
An intriguing warming smell typical of cinnamon or clove was present with a certain acidic presence. The smell was punchy, yet rather pleasant and set things off on good footing. This was comforting and remained noticeable for multiple whiffs.
On opening, a lack of head was apparent as well as fizz which hinted of a still cider. After a few glugs and tasting, the cider was remarkably like it smelt and was branded … highly different and distinctive. The aftertaste and impression wasn’t overpowering or remotely dry. It possessed my preferred level of dryness as a ” moist” cider and was good that no false dryness claims were made; Many ciders have such as the recently reviewed organic Aspalls which claimed dryness but didn’t possess it.
The cider was perfectly still like a Henney’s of Herefordshire which actually never seems to be a great thing.
As for body, the cider didn’t suffer from a watery feel despite not seeming thick or syrupy. This was the right consistency for a strongly spiced drink however. The acidity level seemed a little low for my taste, yet the warmth (from the spices including cloves), appeared to compensate for this, removing any disappointment of it’s absence. The drink whilst spicy, did lack sweetness and the balance of warmth from spice should perhaps be enhanced by this and carbonation.
A rather pleasant drink with a unique warming flavour providing a tang. Carbonation and acidity are lacking yet dryness is as expected and enjoyable. The sweetness is a little lacking which is a shame. The product is great value, practical and as unique as the branding suggests. Whilst not to everyone’s taste I found it quite enjoyable. It is debatable whether it should be classed a cider. I have given it 2 scores to keep things fair.
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