Breton Cidre, Loic Raison Doux luxury cider review (8.5/10) – “Incredibly fresh and fruity balance, dulled by high costs and low practicality”.

The Good

“Very natural with persistent, fruity aroma”.
“Lasting scent”.
“Moderate sparkle”.
“Good balance and smoothness”.
“Non-sickly fruity USP”.
“Certain unique champagne or wine, element”.
“Pleasant tang”.
“Full bodied as promised”.
“Pleasant natural aftertaste”.
“No dryness as promised”.

The Bad

“A little too sweet”.
“Balance towards sweetness rather than tang”.
“No woodiness”.
“Tang slightly weak”.
“Expensive”.
“Not readily accessible”.
“Impractical volume of fluid”.
“Branding label colours clash”.
“Slightly sickly sweetness in smell”.

Nice as a treat, but not a regular tipple.

Packaging

This week began with a pricey Christmas special order, at £4.50 per bottle for just 1.5 units from Amazon. With 750ml per vessel, 2 were required, making a £9 spend necessary, to hit lower end of the 3-4 government “Do not regularly exceed” threshold. With postage included costs quickly mount up. No guidelines for this threshold were labelled on the bottle, with units also unspecified. This meant, to calculate, I had to go on the NHS unit calculator to get a formula. How laborious …This shows, along with practicality and cost, considerable imperfections.

With a hefty postage fee, and lack of availability in all supermarkets, the product certainly was in the luxury price bracket, and consequently isn’t readily accessible to the public. This means, an online order, or a trip to France ,(which many of us ordinary soles would be unable to afford), would be required just to sample this drink. So why did I choose it ?, I hear you holler …
Well, being an avid reader of the internationalciderchallenge.com, I found myself confronted by the “Tasting awards” section, with one “Supreme champion”, of 2018. The drink in question was none other than Breton Cidre, Loic Raison Doux.

As should be expected from an expensive, award winning product, the branding looked rather sophisticated. The wine bottle-styled corked top, made this cider appear prestigious. The label colours of gold, white and orange on the green glass bottle chassis, appeared distinctive. This was still a little tacky though, and didn’t really help the luxury image.

1923, as the year of vintage, did appear very impressive though. Whilst appearing impressive on first glance, it later emerged that this referred to the age of the company ,not the cider, making things slightly less remarkable. This to me, appeared too ambiguous to be a true mark of quality.

Bretagne was mentioned in very small font, with “Cidrier Breton”, also featuring on the lower label. With the brand name of “Loic Raison”. In amongst this was the term “Cidre Doux”.
” Loic Raison” translates as a Brittany ( Bretagne) language equivalent of “reason Louis”. This perhaps suggests the drink was produced to celebrate one of the 18 king Louis’ of France.

Cidrier refers to a cider maker and, Breton I believe, relates to Brittany where the cider is produced. The site of the company (Loic Raison) base, is specifically inland Brittany, using locally sourced apples. This is good for the environment, highlighting freshness prior to bottling.

On translating to English, the label becomes far clearer to my (profound lack of French language understanding), brain. Raison, is the cider company here, which from the label, was clearly a well established name in Domagne. With 90 employees mentioned, the company didn’t sound cottage-industry, but certainly was a considerable employer in the area. The product uses apples from the Bretagne region. It also promotes a raspberry version, which I believe the label of a great drink shouldn’t. Whilst it may be tempting to promote your brand, Sending out a message to the consumer to try another cider before they have finished reading about their current drink, seems a little pushy and unprofessional.

As for expectations, the drink bottle descriptors of sweet, fruity and generous, lead me to expect full-bodied mouthfeel, and flavour possessing natural sweetness. French ciders typically contain multiple apple varieties, supporting the full-bodied idea. Perhaps a considerable tang, should be anticipated, due to laws of all French ciders to contain 100% fruit juice. Of course, this assumes some thought to apple selection for varieties containing tartness.

Using the website though, this tartness was specified as “Tart notes”. From this, i’m assuming moderate acidity. Also a tangy nature should be expected, due to assertion of “Yellow orange” highlights. With “Stewed apples” also mentioned in the aroma, I’d expect a natural and sweet scent. As for dryness, I’ll expect a limited amount, due to sweeter ciders generally masking this well.

We shall see …

Smell

Whilst highly challenging to open, after 15 minutes of grappling with the bottle, a highly generous pressured puff emerged. This released a beautifully natural, borderline sickly, aroma. Certainly with the fruity nature promised. I’d strongly expect some tang aswell, since a tart element was noticeable. This was probably one of the freshest smelling ciders I’ve had.

Taste

On first sip, the freshness of the apple was unbelievable. It instantly reminded me of a particularly fresh apple juice. The spritely sparkle, provided some element of fizz on swilling, which appeared medium. The experience, formed into a particularly tangy and fruity appleade.
Quickly, within a few sips, the full body came through, providing real balance with enough sweetness, almost enough tang, and plenty of freshness, to fulfill brand promises of Brittany apples, and natural flavour.

No dryness could be detected into the aftertaste, as expected, yet the fruitiness that lingered, didn’t leave an unpleasant sickly sweetness; Instead though, a lasting fruity tone. The entire flavour and aftertaste was so appealing, you wouldn’t know the drink was alcoholic at all. The apple, was truly the star of the show, as it should be.
There was some element of the drink that created uniqueness. It took a little while to emerge, but developed sneakily.

It resembled champagne, perhaps slightly grape-like then. The USP, was a combination of intense fruity flavour, and this wine or champagne-like, taste element. With a good aftertaste, only woodiness seemed lacking. I would have appreciated a touch more tang, if I was hypercritical, and for practicality, the drink was a little lacking. That said, a well-balanced, smooth drink providing rich, apple freshness, in a full-bodied, sweet and tangy experience was present here. One with multiple USP’s, which seemed truly rare.

Summary

A beautifully fresh, fragrant, and balanced cider. One with fruit providing plenty of natural sweetness, and some tang. A little lacking in woody character or dryness, although this was expected. Things were too costly and impractical to give full marks though.

Sources
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/calculating-alcohol-units/#calculating-units
https://www.linguee.com/french-english/translation/cidre+doux.html
http://imbibe.com/news-articles/ciders/comparing-apples-french-vs-english-cider/
http://www.loicraison.fr/mesproduits/cidre-doux/
https://internationalciderchallenge.com/internationalciderchallenge2019/en/page/2018-results
http://historyscoper.com/frenchkings.html

My West Country cider book ft. Johnny Depp :

Sidastroll- Johnny Depp

Loic Raison Product:

#bretagne #brittany #domagne #france #loic #louis #cidredoux #doux #cidre #Raison #internationalciderchallenge #mediumcarbonation #fruityaroma #johnnydepp

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