Cornish Orchards Gold cider review ” Well rounded, with a degree of uniqueness, natural aroma and great natural acidity”. – (8.5/10).

The Good

” Great brand message”.
” Good all-rounder”.
” Distinctive tart apple and bitterness in taste”.
” Mostly consistent taste and branding”.
” Light carbonation as promised”.
” Fully natural flavour”.
” Medium body”.
” Considerable uniqueness”.
” Lasting, non-sickly aftertaste”.
” Pleasant smell”.

The Bad

” Basic name”.
“Rather impractical and expensive”.
” No named apple varieties on bottle or website”.
” Sweetness totally overshadowed”.
” Not balanced”.
” No dryness or woodiness”.
” Not full-bodied”.

Packaging

The “Cornish Rattler Original” was a watery drink, which lacked many key attributes for pleasantness. This was named after the Cornish Rattler apples used in it. It did have carbonation, fruity notes and some dryness, but all of this was pretty weak due to it’s watery mouthfeel.
The scent was also nice, yet I only scored the drink (6.5/10) overall.

Here we have my second ever Cornish cider review, partly due to the previous poor experience, but also resulting from dominance of large cider producers from elsewhere. Cornish ciders in supermarkets seem a little thin on the ground. I managed to nab a £1.75, 500ml bottle, reduced from £2.10 at Waitrose though. I bought 2, since a single only supplies a relatively meagre 2.5 units. This makes it not the most practical of drinks, with 2 bottles putting you well over Government recommended limits. A single will inevitably leave you longing more though.

As for cost, even when on-offer, £3.50 for 2, still puts it over the cost of Cornish Rattler at £2. Only one was required there, due to 6% ABV, bolstering a single bottle to 3 units, touching the lower end of the governments’ range. Considering £2 would also achieve the limit with just one Aspalls’ premier Cru which scored an astronomical (9.25/10), things here will have to be great quality to make up for high costs for 2 bottles. For lower ABV drinks however, it isn’t quite so bad, since these tend to cost more for the limits, anyway. Hopefully the Cornish apples will give this cider the uniqueness necessary, to charge the premium.

So enough about costs and rarity, what is the product itself about ?

Cornish orchards Gold as a name sounds rather simple, and not particularly imaginative, I feel Curious Apple and the Cornish Rattler, were both more interesting names. The cider bottle claims to use traditional processes and 100% juice.
The bottle transparency highlights the Golden colour as used in it’s name, which is supported by a pleasant logo of a globular apple tree, one brimming with golden fruits.

Except for the dull name then, the branding seems fairly good at a glance. It is visually appealing, and the label is clearly readable. It is clear the traditional processes are promoted as a USP, yet it’s limited history is mentioned on the bottle. Westnorth manor farm, Cornwall, is iterated as the site of apple pressing and bottling. This shows environmental consideration.

The location specified on the bottles front and rear, suggests this is important for the drinks identity. When combined with ” traditional processes”, the idea of a rather artisan product is created. As I ventured onto the website link, the company history was revealed again.

On about us, Andy Atkinson is described as the founding father of the product. In 1999, he created several orchards to impress the local councils, through broadening the secure habits for local wildlife. The website iterates the ethos has always been on ” natural” fruit, which I guess provides a consistent message for reduced emissions and wildlife diversity.
Whilst the first product was made with Andy Atkinson’s business in 2001, in 2013 the company changed hands. A company named Fullers then took over.

The Cornish Orchards Gold product, won “Gold”, at the international ciders award in 2015. This shows a great achievement whilst Fullers were at the helm.
Fullers also decided to leave production in situ at Westnorth manor with Andy, which is good for a London-based traditional brewery. They have tradition on their side aswell, dating back to 1845 as a brewery, suggesting they should maintain the natural values and traditional practises present at Cornish Orchards Gold.

All in all then, a recent 19 year old history in Cornwall, has lead to a distinctively branded cider with identity from sustainable practise and diverse apple variety use. With assertions from Fullers extensive history, tradition still appears on the drinks side. The only let downs in branding are a lack of named apple varieties ,(a key part of the products USP), and a rather dull name.

The bottle suggests light carbonation, natural fruity sweetness, lasting dryness, and full-bodiedness. This is a clear spectra of non-boastful claims, that ooze good branding. For a 19 year old business, I am impressed. As for tang and woodiness, the website doesn’t add anything for expectations. With a watery Cornish Rattler in mind, I wouldn’t expect much though.

Smell

On opening, a foam of bubbles danced on the drinks surface, justifying its clear bottle, and providing a truly refreshing, yet not overpowering, sweet and natural whiff of apple. This quickly faded after the head subsided though. While it lasted, it hinted of positive elements expected from the brand, to enjoy in the flavour.

Taste

The first sip provided a non-full body, one that wasn’t watery either, but lacked a little flavour character in the first instant. This grew into a medium tang, and faded with some element of bitterness. This flavour sensation overall was already rather distinctive.

On swilling, it didn’t burst with bubbles, suggesting light carbonation as promised.
The tang began to emerge within the first few sips as a confident tart apple, one that overpowered any sickly sweetness. This made the drink a little sour, but not strongly acidic, probably due to the medium, not full, body.
It began to appear a well-rounded drink, with carbonation, acidity, and bitterness, providing some identity. The long dry finish promised was absent though, a trait present in some Orchard Pig products.
Sweetness was too subtle to provide a truly balanced drink, with tart apple dominating, although the drink was rather well-rounded. For a totally perfect taste experience, a little woodiness, a suggestion of strong tartness in branding, and some dryness as promised, would be necessary.
A lasting tart aftertaste was present, following subtle bitterness, and naturally tart apple.

Summary
A well-rounded drink, with a degree of uniqueness, natural aroma, and great natural acidity. Lacking a little in sweetness and balance though, with no dryness, and higher costs than justified.

Sources
https://www.fullers.co.uk/
https://www.cornishorchards.co.uk

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