Sheppy’s 200 special edition cider review (9.25/10) – “Freshly balanced, with a unique combination of luscious attributes.”

The Good

“Plenty of tradition and history”.
“Branding message clear”.
“Expectations for drink easy to establish”.
“Medium dryness as promised”.
“Good levels of natural tartness”.
“Great balance”.
“Lasting, natural aftertaste”.
“Distinctive woody element”.
“Silky smooth”.
“Freshness of apple throughout”.
“Natural aroma”.
“Full- flavoured experience throughout”.

The Bad

“Weak smell”.
“Carbonation too light”.
“Impractical”.
“Fairly expensive”.

Packaging

Sheppy’s is a brand of cider I’m yet to sample. I have encountered it previously though, whilst exploring the range of supermarket, low-alcohol ciders. Low alcohol is defined as less than 1% alcohol. My previously reviewed ciders in that category appearing rather mediocre.
Whilst today’s offering is full-alcohol, it’s weaker companion was rated a full 5/5 by drinkwisewales.

This suggests that Sheppy’s is a good quality cider brand. “Based in Somerset”, and “benefitting from 200 years of experience”, are just some of the assertions that jump out of the Sheppy’s homepage. That allegedly makes them one of the oldest premium craft cider brands in existence.

The head honcho apparently sticks to these traditional values by using traditional methods, to craft today’s cider.

His name is David Sheppy…

The bottle on purchase, appeared very smart looking. Quite understated, yet nothing to hint at lower quality. The text lifted it considerably. With the announcement of “1816” and “200 year special edition”, you could tell this company has some history.
The 200 year anniversary from 1816, means this drink is just 3 years old. With 200 years of cider making experience behind it though, you’d expect some character. The sort of comfort character provided by an old desk or bureau.

Since Weston’s est 1880, and bulmers of 1887, these are both considerably younger than this cider producer, but are still very well established in recent history and present lifestyles.

David Sheppy’s signature on the bottle was a nice touch…

Whilst David sheppy is the 6th generation, in apparently one of the oldest cider making families in the world, he hopefully has inherited the important knowledge of how to make great cider from his predecessors. His predecessor Richard, retired in 1998.

From the website we can build up a picture of what to expect.

I want the very finest cider apples used here, to impress my palette. I want things to dance like classic music, and fade like a watercolour painting. The website affirms that David Sheppy continues to use the original methods of his predecessors, but with the aide of modern technology. Let’s hope both harmonise together.
David Sheppy employs a combination of dessert apples, with cider varieties, still utilising 100 year old oak vats for maturation. This sounds true to their traditional practises.

Looking at the bottle and website for more background ….

The bottle rear, adds Bradford-on-tone in the Taunton area, as Sheppy’s site of production. The website confirms this, adding Three bridges farm, as the precise location where the drink is now produced. This appears Southwest to Taunton on google maps, and is only a 4 mile walk from the town itself. Taunton is midway between Glastonbury and Exeter, in the heart of southwest Somerset.

With tasting notes of “Fine bodied”, “Medium sweet”, and “Lightly sparkling”, I’d want delicate fizz to lift an, at least medium-bodied, and naturally tasting drink, with some sweetness and unique elements to lift it’s character.

The website asserts that dryness should be present due to “traditional tannins”. I’d hope for characterful dryness her, spanning the aftertaste, along with natural, full-flavour. As for acidity, it will have to be a surprise, since no expectations are given.

Practically, the drink doesn’t have much up it’s sleeve. It mutters 2.5 units, with 5% ABV, totalling 500ml in volume. This means 2 would be needed, which would put you well over safe limits. Ideally, 1-2 bottles would provide 3-4 units. Cost at £1.67 for an introductory offer, seemed okay, but less so for 2, at £3.34 !!
The Aldi vintage gets you to safe limits for just £1.69, with a single, large bottle. Sheppy’s isn’t as bad as my recently reviewed “Angioletti Secco” though, which was less practical in terms of units, and costed £4 for 2 bottles, making it both pricier, and less practical.

Smell

Immediately on opening, a faint crackle could be heard. This revealed a natural, and slightly weak apple aroma. One which cut off quickly, and after a time could no longer be sensed.

Taste

Taste began as a very tangy and slightly watery apple. The tang kept the flavour full though, which began some positivity. On swilling, some very light carbonation was noticeable, but things seemed a little too still, to even be described as lightly carbonated.
After a few sips, sweetness became detectable. This was present to a degree, and was well balanced with the tartness. While tartness began as the star of the show, deeper into the taste, a distinctive woody element became involved. This faded into a little dryness as promised, which was very pleasant to commence the aftertaste.
The tang persisted into the aftertaste, which lasted well as a non-sickly tart apple sensation. The drink leaves you with a subtle medium dryness, which tempts you to swallow.
The whole drinking experience throughout taste and aftertaste, was silky smooth and difficult to fault. The freshness of the apple throughout, was always apparent. This can often be lost in more woody ciders.

Summary

Freshly balanced, with a unique combination of luscious attributes.

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More on cider:

Sainsbury’s low alcohol cider featuring information on Sheppy cider
https://reasea.org/2018/12/14/sainsburys-low-alcohol-cider-review-better-than-apple-juice-but-lacking-the-complexity-and-flavour-depth-of-good-cider-6-0-10/

Our Recent Angioletti Secco review
https://reasea.org/2019/05/12/angioletti-secco-cider-review-8-25-10-strong-performer-in-refreshing-nature-could-have-used-some-dryness-and-uniqueness-though/

One of my old Weston’s cider reviews citing 1880 est.

https://reasea.org/2017/08/05/westons-scrumpy-cloudy-cider-fruity-and-tangy-without-dryness-or-branding-7-510/

Bulmers est. 1887 one of my first ever cider reviews !!!!!

https://reasea.org/2017/05/23/bulmers-original-premium-cider-review-710/

Sources

https://www.drinkwisewales.org.uk/booze-free-reviews/ciders/
https://www.mapsofworld.com/england/counties/somerset-map.html
https://www.sheppyscider.com/products/medium-ciders/200-special-edition-cider/

Tags: David Sheppy, sheppy, Sheppy cider, Weston’s, bulmers, Somerset cider, Somerset cider review, 3 bridges farm, Taunton, Bradford on tone cider, medium dry cider review, woody cider review, reaseaorg, reasonedand seasoned

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