Aspalls Premier Cru Cyder review ” Full-bodied, well balanced, and fruity. A little pricey and dryness sparse though ” – (9.25/10).

The Good

” Very bold, tangy flavour”.
” Great full mouthfeel”.
” Light carbonation as promised”.
” Plenty of sweetness in the fruity taste”.
” Practical alcohol level per bottle”.
” Great history and good branding”.
” Well balanced drink”.
” Lasting, and naturally tangy, aftertaste”.
” Reasonable cost”.

The Bad

” Nothing completely unique”.
” No woodiness”.
” Lack of dryness, which was promised”.
Packaging

My last Aspalls review was quite some time ago… Having been mentally transported to the West Country, with some interesting Orchard pig products recently, it seems time I returned to the east, where I currently dwell.
In that review, I looked at Aspalls On-Draught, with a Red label. Many moons before that a Green label Organic version was consumed.

Today’s product though, is the blue label. One, that I first tried and hated at a Nottingham festival I was working at in 2017. At this time, I probably had a chest infection, and expected death shortly after consuming. Fortunately for some, I am still here. Perhaps my healthy tastebuds will be better placed this year, to review the drink.

The Aspalls colour coding system appears rather De ja vu with Orchard pig. Rather than branding Orchard pig copycats; Mainly because 1728 est for Aspalls, seems a lot earlier than the 2004 est for Orchard pig, I’ll just say I like the idea of colour coding for both, to differentiate between products in their ranges.

This bottle looks sleek, modelling the classic champagne bottle shape, and effectively describing the history of the drink. It specifies 7 years in creation by Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild at the time “when they joined the business”. Unfortunately, although mentioned as their favourite drink, it doesn’t specify when this happened. Fortunately a bit of WIFi leads me to believe that Barry, with strong grounding in sales, joined in 1993, since which time he has helped preserve the woodlands and estate orchards at Aspall. It seems though that Henry, who is similar in age to Barry, was the main innovator at this time, with the Aspalls website affirming his love for brand promotion on his travels, and passion for product development.

This implies that “Cru” has been available since 2000, making the product 18 years old.

Despite this legwork to find out the drinks age, It is grounded in history, with hundreds of years of tradition in drink making, before this product, at Aspall, in Suffolk. Also, it’s just as practical as the “Green labelled”, organic version. This means, just one bottle is required to reach the government guideline safe consumption level of 3-4 units, from 3.5 unit bottles, of 7% ABV. Whilst identical to that of the Organic Aspalls, Draught, only provided 2.8 units from 5.5% ABV, meaning an extra bottle was needed. This means, Cru is cheaper than Draught, costing just £1.90 from Sainsbury’s. Whilst on-offer, Organic Aspalls pipped this by 10p, on Draught doubled the cost, due to it’s low ABV, suggesting a comparatively modest spend here.

So expectations for a Full dry with natural smell, can be gathered from the bottle. Delving a bit deeper then, I’ll use prior knowledge of Aspalls I have Ac-Cru-ed, from my previous reviews…

Both “Green” and “Red” label Aspalls had light carbonation and punchy tang, so I’d expect similar here. They also both had medium mouthfeel, so perhaps similar again. Any sweetness due to the brand, I’d expect to be natural. Sweetness though, was lacking in those 2, so I am a little sceptical here… With a lack of complexity also typically plaguing Aspalls, I wouldn’t expect much woodiness, or uniqueness, here. But my mind is as open as a public Orchard, so you never know what may fill, and hopefully fulfill, it after tasting.

Smell

At first, a confident, natural and fruity apple aroma emerged. It suggested of tang, not sickly eating apple. After a time, it faded to a smooth gasp of nature, on subsequent sniffs. The smell, was highly pleasant, and one of a good drink. It matched perfectly, my expectations from the bottle, for a natural smell.
Taste

From the first sip, a strong, and full-flavoured, natural bite emerged from noticeable acidity. On swilling and pouring, it was clear to see a very light carbonation emerge. One that was on par with many Orchard pig ciders. This was consistent with taste expectations from both “Green” and “Red” Label aspalls. Dryness was initially tough to detect, and not as bold as hoped for. The mouthfeel and flavour helped compensate for that though. Unlike the other Aspalls drinks which were medium to watery in consistency, the “Blue”, “Cru” here, was certainly almost syrupy in consistency, with good balance to support the confident drink.

Whilst woodiness was certainly absent, this wasn’t expected or announced on the bottle, so quelled the disappointment. The character here though, seemed to be clearly evident, through great balance, and a couple of great attributes to the drink. Sweetness, in addition to mouthfeel, was much better than most other Aspalls. Both of these, appearing supercharged.

Aftertaste developed an intense sweetness, Bordering sickliness. Fortunately good acidity came to the rescue, cutting through this, to maintain a natural and fruity flavour. Flourishing throughout consumption. Very good taste and aftertaste, was clear overall.

Summary

Well balanced, naturally sweet and fruity cider, confidently announcing its flavour in a borderline syrupy body. Light carbonation only adds to this masterpiece. Practical, tangy yet unfortunately, not dry.

Sources
Aspall.co.uk

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