K- cider review (4/10) – ” Harshly dry. An unpleasant aftertaste dominated, following sickly sweetness”. P.s (Wouldn’t drink again).

The Good

“Natural and tangy initial smell”.
“Cheap cider, with distinctive branding”.
“Practical alcohol level”.

The Bad

” Artificial scent emerging after pouring”.
” Intensely sickly sweetness”.
” Watery mouthfeel”.
” Unpalatable aftertaste”.
” Way too dry”.
” Weak carbonation”.
” Lacking depth of flavour or tang”.
” Not well-balanced or enjoyable”.

Packaging

Embellished with Gold and Scarlett inscriptions, a 500ml, 8% ABV can of “K” cider, sits assertively in a Black can. The can suggests this “K”, is a mark of quality. Thanks to sciencenotes.org, it became clear that “K” is also an abbreviation for the gold purity unit : the Karat. Clearly from it’s branding, the can takes itself very seriously; Like a Barbed wire fence, hiding something sinister, yet exciting.

The can also provides a Customer careline telephone number. This is the first time I have seen such an intense health suggestion on a drink… With this, the can almost acts like a father figure sentinel. A vessel of maturity and responsibility. One that should be enjoyed as a special treat, in isolation of any kind of drinking session. The drink is practical though, hitting the top end of the daily “Do not regularly exceed limit”, from just one can.

Interpreting these labels in a different way, perhaps the more sinister, “matte black”, of the can, suggests these health warnings are acting as a challenge for you to be irresponsible, by drinking more than you should to break them. A can with the colour scheme of Ted Hankeys wardrobe, seems to hint of breaking rules stubbornly, rather than adhering to any ” Perhaps legally required”, labels.

With these 2 conflicting interpretations, the brand retains a level of dark magic mystery.

The alcohol level, makes this drink reasonable in price to purchase. Even from my local corner shop, (which may aswell charge for time spent existing in the shop), this was just £1.50. This makes it cheaper than Twisted tree, and most bottled ciders, to reach the safe limit.

Adhering to the bat like cry of ” Serve chilled”, on the bottle, I quickly returned the can to it’s natural habitat of the fridge, to engage in further reading. Get excited now bookworms …

From the classically unreliable Wikipedia, a little light could be shed on a drink without it’s own website on google … It seems, the USA stopped selling “K” cider in 2010. Since then, in the U.K., it has been reduced in alcohol percentage, and is no longer available in bottles. Wikipedia also complements the can stating how it’s gold, rather than silver top, means it is a ” Super”, rather than “Normal”, “K”. I guess they couldn’t dub the Super version ” Special” though, due to Kellogg’s throwing their crunchy nuts out the pram.

This all sounds informative, yet suggests the drink is on the decline, with much of the history dying out. It also seems rather anonymous and mysterious, without it’s own website. Much of this sounds like a product getting rejected, rather than welcomed. Strangely, this does fit it’s dark image, in not appealing to many people. One, scarred with labels asserting it’s issues, like boils on a witches Hide…

So what is the drink actually like ?

Stooping to an even less reputable site, there is chat on the street, that this cider may be Full-bodied in flavour, and a rich golden colour, matching it’s can-top. Combined with the assertion of “Combination of English apples used”, I’d speculate this won’t be mono varietal or foreign.

Available in both 330ml, 440ml and 500ml cans, clearly options are available. Perhaps the 330ml cans, have a Bronze top, and are known as “Minion” “K”, rather than “Normal”, or “Super”… Now we really are speculating…

With Headquarters in Dublin though, it seems the company is a commercial, standardised product, using inspiration from Irish drinks. My “K” can, provides site of manufacturing in Glasgow by C and C brands. With this Groups’ factory, producing the drink in Ireland, Scotland and the U.S in Vermont, maybe the origins of the drink may be diluted.

To me then, any kind of organic origin, or root of apple tree or cider panache, may be swapped out for production numbers and sales. This brings us to a sad realisation, that the product may be a cheap and cheerful sickly drink, much like Magners or Bulmers.

The Branding though, may awaken hope for something a little more unique and inspiring however, so let’s snip that barbed wire fence, and unleash the caged animal, whilst reassuringly armed with the help, of a careline number…

Smell

The scent was preceded by a continuous, steady, crackle of bubbles, hinting of carbonation. It was almost sweet, and certainly tangy or acidy. It was surprisingly natural, yet not overpowering. It lasted for a while, providing a confident freshness each time. After pouring though, it became quite synthetic and artificial. Something which suddenly seemed inferior to my initial impressions.

Taste

The mouthfeel was surprisingly watery, and lacking in any consistency. Flavour began as a sweet and apple-like. It was almost dominated by sweetness, which wasn’t totally artificial, yet was far too strong to keep the drink enjoyable. This quickly developed into a sickly sweet, prolonged aftertaste, which was very unpleasant. On swilling, carbonation stayed light. This was a good aspect to the drink, if a little weak.. The acidity I was expecting from the scent, just wasn’t apparent in the flavour. After consuming further, the sweetness quickly reached a level which stopped me finishing the can. With an unpleasant aftertaste, and any depth of flavour, it quickly became rather unenjoyable.

The aftertaste was very harsh. It was almost like pure alcohol hitting your tonsils. It possessed a warmth, perhaps due to the high ABV, and very robust dryness. I found this combination rather difficult to palate, so struggled to enjoy the drink. This aftertaste lasted for a relatively short time, and left my mouth like a dessert, swallowing to escape the dryness.

Summary

Intensely sickly sweet, dry cider, with an unbearably harsh aftertaste, and lack of flavour depth, or tang. Initially, quite a nice smell, before pouring.

Sources

Sciencenotes.org
Wikipedia.org
Talkingretail.com
candcgroupplc.com

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