Orchard Pig – The Truffler review (9/10) ” Non-bitter dryness and strong branding, with natural flavour. I’d love bolder flavour though “.

The Good

” Excellent bottle branding with clear expectations”.
” Practical alcohol level”.
” Non-bitter dry”.
” Light carbonation”.
” Tangy acidity”.
” Non-watery mouthfeel”.
” Super smooth and well rounded”.
” Smooth, dry, aftertaste”.

The Bad

” Tang and sweetness a little lacking”.
” Not the cheapest”.
” Slightly thin mouthfeel”.
” Character a little weak”.

Packaging

The bottle is perhaps the most attractive of the Orchard pig range I’ve seen. It contrasts a pale green, with an off-white label, propelling itself off an amber hue. It has the clearest label of them all, stating “Dry” rather than medium, clearly referring to dryness, not mouthfeel. “More apples, less bubbles”, is continued as the slogan. The bottle design is highly consistent with the brand also, which I like.

Before bottle turning, the 6% ABV indication guides you to a “3 unit” statement, on the back label. This makes the strength and alcohol level, identical to “The Charmer”, reviewed last week. Both are at practical alcohol levels for government guideline abiding, safe consumption.

This label consolidates things by stating “Old school dry”. It continues with ” aromatic tannins”, ” bittersweet finish” and “balanced”. These, along with the websites assertion of lasting sweetness, would lead me to expect (moderate, natural sweetness), a smell clearly of dry, not sickly apples, and a drink that is well balanced and dry in taste.

I’d also hope for good levels of acidity, and a medium mouthfeel like the Hog-father. Woodiness has been apparent in both “The Charmer”, and “The Hogfather”. Without question this would be nice too. The price was £2.09 from Waitrose, making it identical to “The Charmer”, yet a little pricier than “The Reveller” or the “Hog-father”.

As for the drinks context, the use of pigs to hunt for truffles, (a fungus based delicacy), apparently dates back to the Roman Empire, whilst Orchard pig as a cider company was established in 2004. It is reassuring to know they have considered some tradition in their branding, despite the notable lack of experience.

With such great taste and smell expectations gleaned from bottle branding, I can forgive the website for declaring other drinks “you may like”, with similar … “Character”. I have mentioned before with “The Charmer”, how I don’t appreciate this, since it detracts from the drink in hand. Enough doom and gloom.

Let’s summarise “The Truffler”…

This cider should possess light carbonation, tang with fruity acidity, lasting natural sweetness, full dryness, medium mouthfeel, and some noticeable complexity from woodiness or another distinctive element. The smell should hint of dryness, and not be sickly. With all this, the practical and relatively affordable Truffler cider, with it’s attractive bottle would fly.

Will pigs fly ?
Smell

The scent was a prominent confident aroma of natural tang ! The apples were clearly of considerable character, and didn’t come across as too sickly. The smell lingered on my nose and was rather memorable. It lasted on subsequent scents, yet didn’t establish any element of unpleasantness through overpowerment.

Taste

On first sip, it was immediately clear that the cider was almost still, and very lightly sparkling. At least there was some element of carbonation though. The cider was tangy, yet not overly acidic, thus remaining smooth in taste, and fortunately lacking in anything sharp or unnecessary. After swallowing, it was clear to detect a noticeable dryness, providing an all-important, fuzzy mouth effect, leading me to take subsequent samples.

As for mouthfeel, things were a little thin. There wasn’t much substance before dryness emerged, which seemed a little disappointing. This may have assisted carrying woodiness into the flavour, or bringing forth some unique character. A real strength for this dry was a lack of bitterness in aftertaste though. Many people believe dry to be interchangeable for bitter, yet I, consider dryness to just be on the effect it has on your mouth. Not the actual taste… Since I’m not a fan of bitter tastes, this seemed very positive, thereby scoring in this drinks favour.

To be honest, “The Truffler”, was difficult to fault. It was super smooth, not gassy, naturally tasting, non-bitter, and delivered dryness well, as promised. Perhaps, I was longing for a bit more wood to match the tang, as I continued into the bottle. Sadly, the mouthfeel stayed slightly watery, and nothing truly spectacular emerged in terms of character either.

Summary

Lacking in character, and could be sweeter or more acidic. Overall though, a smooth, dry cider, with slight carbonation, noticeable tang, and a really great dry aftertaste that so many “dry”, ciders lack. Pigs are taking off …

Sources

http://www.merriam-Webster.com

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