Henry Weston’s Oak-aged Vintage cider. – “Subtle nature, with a pleasant smell and aftertaste. Limited identity though, except for hints of wood and bitterness deeper down” – (7.75/10).
P.s I didn’t win the VIP cooking experience with Neil Rankin.
” Subtle bitter aftertaste”.
” Non-sickly flavour”.
” Natural, woody flavour”.
” Some character”.
” Competitive in price and practicality”.
” Smooth taste”.
” Virtually still”.
” Lacking all medium dryness promised “.
” No real acidity”.
” Rather watery mouthfeel”.
” Very weak sweetness”.
” Limited depth of flavour”.
Weston’s in Much Marcle, Herefordshire, is one of my favourite locations both to visit, and that produces consistently tasty ciders. I’m excited to review my second product with “Henry Weston” in it’s title tonight. This is the Oak-aged vintage…
Weston’s should need no introduction to experienced cider tasters. Boasting a history dating back to 1880, with a complement of fascinating backstories, the product range is especially exciting. Supporting this, my first product from “Henry Weston”, namely the ” 2016 Henry Weston medium-dry” , scored a noble (8.25/10).
Today’s “Weston’s Oak-aged vintage” version is labelled “2017” though, indicating the harvest of last year was used to provide all the apples for this product. In other West Country drinks, my recent vintage summary, detailed 2015-16 as a better year than 2017/18. Hopefully the 2017 harvest sings more in “Henry Weston’s” than with Thatchers or Jonathan Blair though.
The Henry Weston’s 2016 drink, was described as warming, and tangy, with a full body and carbonation level. It only lacked dryness and some fruity sweetness. At 6.5%, 500ml, and 3.3 units per bottle, it also had fairly promising alcohol content. Still, things were very modest compared to the alcohol level present here in the 2017.
Today’s “2017 Henry Weston’s Oak-aged Vintage cider” is a different beast. At a chart topping 8.2%, this dwarfs almost all ciders I’ve drunk. Chaplin and Corks Somerset vintage was the only other I’d sampled at this strength. This is a drink I quite enjoyed, but am yet to review. Today’s drink, has addled various less-responsible buddies I’ve had, so do be careful, and drink responsibly.
Per bottle, this percentage gives you 4.1 units for 500ml. An amount of alcohol slightly pushing the governments “Do not regular exceed” limit. This suggests the drink should be an occasional treat, rather than a staple. It also means though, that just one bottle is required for a good evening, keeping things quite neat and practical. At £1.90 from Sainsbury’s, the cider isn’t expensive either. In fact it’s far cheaper than many drinks I’ve had previously. It’s similar to Henney’s dry, yet far cheaper than Orchard Thieves and Black Dragon cider. All in all, competitive in cost and practicality.
As for expectations, Weston’s website clearly outlines, medium-dry, fruity smell, well carbonated, with a high level of character. Perhaps it’s humorous that these were all lacking in the “Medium-dry” of 2016, with exception of good carbonation level. With these attributes combined with the “Medium-dry” strengths, if complemented with woodiness, tang, warmth and full mouthfeel would provide a complete experience.
The drink asserts Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire as sole providers of the apples used, and trusts brand reputation established over many years to instill confidence. With oak ageing in vats also mentioned as the provider of the character, it is nice to have both website and bottle showing a consistent explanation of apple source and resulting product experience.
The smell began as a rather natural, smooth scent. It possessed character with limited acidity. Also, you could sense some maturity and apple to come. This wasn’t to last however, suggesting limited carbonation levels. The smell I’d suggest whilst not tangy, was as expected from the description.
After a couple of bubble wobble sounds, the moment of truth arrived. On first sip, limited carbonation was present as expected, defying expectations for a fully carbonation beverage. Things remained refreshing, with a non-full mouthfeel which eventually began to appear rather watery. Sweetness was present, yet highly subtle, so was difficult to detect. Fortunately, everything detectable was natural and non-artificial.
The acidity as feared from the smell, was highly lacking, with an impression of fruit very subtly compensating. The flavour was a little muted, especially early in the drinking experience.
A faint level of woodiness could be detected traversing consumption, which lead into the aftertaste. Initially the flavour whilst natural, was quite watery. Throughout consumption, the woodiness became more prominent at various points, along with warmth due to the high ABV hugging your senses.
The aftertaste became a little more bitter than the main body of the flavour, but persisted in a non-sickly way, to provide a level of identity and character.
Subtle nature, with a pleasant aftertaste and smell. Nothing offensive, yet limited memorable identity. Woodiness and a slight bitter aftertaste, combined with a bit of warmth was nice though.
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