Cornish Orchards Dry cider review (6.25/10) – “Harshly distinctive, artificial and woody, dry. Quite a few elements either weak or missing though”.

The Good

“Decorative bottle designs”.
“Good level of dryness”.
“Unique element apparent”.
“Nice woodiness present”.
“Persistent aftertaste”.

The Bad

“Limited history on website”.
“Artificial smell”.
“Not enough sweetness”.
“Slightly thin mouthfeel”.
“Artificial taste”.
“Acidity too strong”.
“Carbonation too light”.
“Quite harsh”.
“Not well balanced”.


After the poor Cornish rattler, and the considerably less poor chum of today’s drink: The Cornish Orchards “Gold” Cider, I’m hoping the ramp up on the rankings, from the depths of the West Country, will continue here.

Projecting scores of 6.5 and 8.5 respectively, there is considerable variation in cider quality from this area. What made “Gold” the better drink, was a combination of things. From that summary I took this excerpt :

“A well-rounded drink, with a degree of uniqueness, natural aroma, and great natural acidity.”

From the Rattler, this was the verdict :

“Lacks flavour and any real dryness or identity. “

Here I’d hope for balance, dryness due the “dry” name, with a good acidity level.
To begin with, the bottle looks good. It has striking gold and blue apples, with leaves that appear ornately abstract.

This fabulous design presents a clear base label, one stating “West-north manor farm “ as the site of pressing and bottling, in Cornwall. See my “Gold” review below for full company history, which isn’t all that straight forward, briefly it seems 19 years of practise have gone into this drink.

The bottle rear highlights “traditional pressing methods”, “soft tannins”, and apples selected for a “traditional” taste.
It highlights how the cider is “classic”, “matured over winter”, and “blended by experts”.

Now tannins are what result in alcohol dryness, so I’m hopeful this effect will be seen with soft tannins too here. After researching what “soft”, in this context means: (rich, soft or smooth) within the effect of the tannin, appears to define this. I shall assess it based on whether I notice these elements during the dryness.

The second assertion of “matured over winter”, for a “traditional” taste, in my mind relates to character.
Objects which are traditional, are typically those which served a purpose in olden times, such as a chair styled to fit in with an 1800’s household. I feel the essence of being traditional, probably means that the drink has a flavour which serves a purpose of character, since traditional items in a modern household often provide that effect due to their ageing process.

Character in drinks to me, means what gives the drink it’s own identity. It could be (wood, metallic nature or another aspect); Anything I would describe as “uncommonly seen in drinks” is my definition of tradition and character.
The long maturation process over winter should be responsible for the tradition and character promised.

The website adds that both bittersweet and dessert apples have been used, to hopefully supply a good level of sweetness here. With the assertion of a “long dry finish”, I’d hope for a lasting aftertaste aswell.

At a cost of £1.75, for the 500ml, and 5.2% ABV bottle, this cider provides 2.6 units. This is frustratingly just below the 3-4 unit recommended maximum range for adult males, in 2018. For an enjoyable evening, one would seem lonely, yet 2 would place you considerably over safe limits. This makes the drink impractical.

The Cornish Rattler was more practical, but costed 25p extra “per bottle”, when purchased back in 2017 from Asda (see link below).
The “Gold” version of today’s “Dry” drink, miraculously costed the same. Even though it was reduced to exactly the same price. Since ordinarily, it would have been £2.10 though, this highlights how today’s “Dry” offering, is typically cheaper.

Sadly, with 2 of these Cornish Orchards bottles, you’ll have a spend of £3.50, £1.50 more than the Rattler, to conquer safe limits.

In summary, I’m hoping for a well balanced, full-dry, with good acidity level, and a persistent aftertaste. Sweetness level should be good too, with natural taste. Hints of character from woodiness or something else unique, would be appealing too.


The smell was a natural tang. Confident aroma from considerable, yet static head. After a short while, this disappeared. On pouring, the scent re-emerged from the glass, providing a more unpleasant, artificial feel. This was less fruitful than when in the bottle. It persisted much better in the glass though.


The flavour began as slightly watery apple, with tang growing in confidence throughout. The aftertaste wasn’t sickly, lasting well with plentiful dryness, as promised. Unfortunately the dryness wasn’t noticeably of “soft” tannin, not soft or smooth in fact. I’d suggest, with sufficient acidity, and a non-sickly level of sweetness, the taste initially had some positives.

Carbonation was a little too light though, but would have helped the tang, if a little stronger.
After a time, the flavour did develop nicely. It became clear that the drink possessed a unique flavour and smell. It was a good, dry drink, from early in the bottle.
With the dryness, it became clear that a good level of woodiness, accompanied this.

Now, the acidity for me was a little potent and artificial, which detracted from the smoothness of the drink, creating quite a harsh feel. The mouthfeel became medium throughout the bottle, it was slightly thin, but did have some texture.
Sweetness whilst not sickly, was a little lacking too. The apples should have supplied a natural sweetness, notable in the flavour sensation. You only really get the acidity and tartness at that stage.

Balance in the drink was a little lacking too, with the harsh acidity a little too dominant after a while. The harshness meant the cider couldn’t be described as smooth.


Harshly distinctive, artificial and woody, dry. Quite a few elements either weak or missing though.

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More on cider :

The “Gold” version of Cornish orchards:

Cornish Rattler review:

My last, “Anglioletti Secco”, cider review:

Spanish cider:

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Tags: Cornish cider, Cornwall, Westnorth manor, Cider, Dry cider, West Country, woody cider, artificial, harsh cider, 5.2% ABV, bittersweet apples, dessert apples, Cornish rattler, Asda, traditional, sidastroll ebook, Cornish cider review, reaseaorg, reasea, Spanish cider, anglioletti, Cornish rattler, Ben Hattrell Giftcards, £1.75, visitengland, ciderventure, uk cider

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