Henry Weston’s medium dry “aged finish” (2017) cider review (8/10) – “A nicely balanced, sweet and fruity cider. Clearly natural, yet not unique with tartness superior.”

The Good

“Practical”.
“Not expensive”.
“Blurb and branding with USP”.
“Attractive bottle colour scheme”.
“Good company website”.
“Natural smell with character”.
“Strong natural tang”.
“Lasting tart aftertaste”.
“Good balance”.
“Smooth, unharsh taste”.

The Bad

“Nothing unique in character”.
“No dryness at all, which should have been there”.
“Weak carbonation”.
“Weak and quickly fading scent”.
“Very similar to some other products in name and design”.

Packaging

Most of my blog readership (no-one), will think I’ve reviewed this cider before. My answer to you would be … almost.

Let’s be honest when we drink aged cider we hope for that “character and identity”, which emerges from the ageing of any object, possession, or person for that matter. “Good things come to those who wait” perhaps captures the essence of this new product from the range.

Yes, I’ve reviewed “Henry Weston’s Oak-aged medium-dry cider”, which has the same ABV at 6.5, has the same smell notation on the website as fruity, has the same bottle look except for label colour and slightly tweaked name, and to top it all off, still has the same promise of a rich and well-rounded flavour from a long period of maturation.

The capacity was still 500ml, and the bottle had almost exactly the same shape and design. The bottle provided the same 3.3 units.

Expectations from the “Oak-aged” included medium dry, another statement mentioned on the bottle here, suggesting this should have medium dryness too. The website suggested the “Oak -aged” was full-bodied, leading me to expect a non-watery drink then. The bottle here suggests “Deep rich finish” and “Depth of flavour”, agreeing with full-bodied mouthfeel and flavour here aswell.

It should come as no surprise then, that the cider was produced in the same location in rural Herefordshire, just outside Ledbury. Established in 1880 too. I do like Westons’ level of tradition…

but before you go out and search for the cheaper version of what so far seems the identical twin of the offering here, spare a thought for some of the key differences of the “aged finish”.

The “Oak-aged” barely stated any backstory or sensory detail for expectations on the bottle.
Thankfully the tradition is captured well on the blurb here, and the length of maturation is used as it’s USP, almost like a discovery which has taken hundreds of years to perfect.
Such an epoch is defined here as 180 days. The “Oak-aged” didn’t give such an accurate indication of maturation time. The bottle has a grey label here, complementing the brown glass well. The “red” of the “oak-aged”, clashed a little.

“The aged finish isn’t all bad, but gets a bit worse now …”.

It cost £2 from Tesco. The “Oak-aged” only cost £1.39 on special-buy at Aldi. This may be the exception rather than the rule though, since it wouldn’t be permanently on offer ( unless it was a DFS sofa) maybe.
It also has a lot to live up to with the “Oak-aged” ratcheting up a colossal (8.25/10). That was also pleasantly tangy, and carbonated, with a warming aftertaste. It was great value … The Oak-aged “vintage”, a stronger cider from the range, came in at (7.75/10) for £1.90, but this was impractical as it was over the safe daily drinking limit for men in 2018. The bottle here is within the 3-4 unit range making it a safer option.

So let’s hope for medium dryness, deep rich flavour, and full-bodied mouthfeel. I’d hope for a natural, fruity smell, and natural taste and aftertaste, due a combination of it’s brand message and website. Cheers !

Smell

A natural, yet fairly faint aroma steadily emerged from a shyly aerated surface. It remained briefly, and the smell was barely noticeable on subsequent sniffs. It became quickly clear that the drink would be natural, and the scent suggested a certain level of character, albeit weakly. It didn’t promise of a strong, or memorable flavour however. The smell was natural as expected and limited carbonation will be anticipated in it’s taste.

Taste

The taste began as a rather tangy and fruity flavour, one not bound by over-sweetness. During drinking, the first sips’ sweetness did come through, but was kept at bay from overpowering the tart fruit.
Balance initially seemed very good. There was also a full mouthfeel as promised. The smoothness of the drinking sensation kept things enjoyable.

Carbonation level was barely noticeable though, so perhaps the cider should have been branded as “still”. This was a little disappointing. If I was being super-critical the tang was a little too dominant, without sufficient sweetness to round it off. Perhaps this explains the notable absence of character promised by the smell, including woodiness or other unique sensations or hints. They just weren’t in the taste.

The aftertaste persisted for some time, as prolonged, tart apple. This was refreshingly different from the more sickly offerings of many ciders and stayed natural. This was nice.
Dryness generally emerges after the main flavour, so I gave the drink a chance in this respect. Unfortunately, this chance failed to deliver any dryness till the bottle was empty. For a medium dry, this should’ve been present.

Summary

A nicely balanced, sweet and fruity cider. Clearly natural, yet not unique, with tartness overpowering.

P.s You should buy the “Henry Westons “Medium-dry”, oak aged vintage cider 2016″ instead 🙂

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Sources:

Weston’s site https://www.westons-cider.co.uk/
The better identical twin 🙂 (8.25/10): https://reasea.org/2017/08/16/henry-westons-medium-dry-oak-aged-vintage-2016-8-2510/
The worse brother 😦 (7.75/10): https://reasea.org/2018/11/16/henry-westons-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/

Products:

Buy my cider review book “SidaStroll” here :

Buy the cider 🙂 : Henry Weston Medium Dry Cider 500ml

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