Thatchers Rose cider review (8.25/10) -“Distinctive and natural apple flavour, yet nothing to support it”.
“Lasting, natural aftertaste”.
“Practical alcohol level”.
“Colourful, clear branding”.
“Thin mouthfeel but held flavour well”.
“Some natural sweetness”.
“Carbonation lighter than promised”.
“No wood or unique elements”.
There is no messing about here. A brightly Pink Rose cider. Announced by thatchers late last year, now finding it’s way onto supermarket shelves such as Waitrose. Rose in this case means “made with red apples”. This shouldn’t be confused with the term “blush cider”, which means other fruits such as berries have been used.
It states “sweet and sparkling” on the front, allowing full carbonation and good levels of sweetness to be expected within seconds. It affirms this with “made with sweet red apples”. On bottle turning, this “straight to the point”, vibe continues.
The blurb focuses on Apple varieties, stating them as red dessert types such as Pink lady, Fuji and Gala. Dessert apples tend to be sweet, unlike cooking or cider apples, so this fits the sweet impression gained from the branding.
It adds the term “fruity and delicious”, yet nothing else. It was a shame no brand backstory supported this fruit selection online, or on bottle labelling.
I have to say, I like the branding though. The message allows for a clear taste expectation to be started. The colour scheme features plenty of red, making things eye-catching from the shelf. A clear decorative border surrounding the label, keeps things professional to complement traditional fonts.
The branding to me, says the USP is “red apple”. Naming a few popular varieties seems a great way to promote the predominantly red packaging. For dryness and acidity level expectation , you’d require the website. Typically though, sweet varieties of apple don’t possess much dryness.
From apple variety research, I’d expect some acidity from the Pink lady apples, yet sweetness from Gala and Fuji.
For £3.52, the 2 bottles you’d need to drink enjoyably and sensibly, don’t come cheap. In fact, this cider is very expensive to rely on for an evening. I’d suggest more as a treat, than a regular tipple. One bottle gives you 2 units, 500ml, at just 4% ABV.
4% ABV is low for a member of the Thatchers range. Stan’s leaf twister for example is 5%, and Thatchers Old Rascal is 4.5%. Stronger Thatchers come in at 7.4%, such as their 2016 Oak-aged vintage, for example.
It’s one calling card from this low strength, is it allows 2 bottles to kiss the top end of recommended government limits for safe drinking. This makes the cider practical.
Overall then, I’d hope for a fruity and sweet cider, one well-carbonated with good acidity, perhaps lacking a little dryness and character. Only time will tell though …
On opening, very limited bubbles preceded a rather feeble scent. One barely apparent, till pouring. Following a few in-breaths, the smell became noticeable as ephemeral fresh apple. Similar to many other Thatchers products. It did smell lighter though, in a most pleasant way. After some time, the smell continued weakly from the sparse residual bubbles.
On first sip the taste began weak, before developing into a slightly tart, fresh apple. The experience felt very natural immediately. Nothing artificial could be detected. The apples used, were captured well. The aftertaste continued for some time of apple, without any real harsh or strong sensation.
Tartness was apparent during tasting, yet only felt for a very brief moment, before the apple flavour was resumed. I’d suggest tartness was quite weak. Dryness was notably absent early on, sweetness was perhaps disguised by the taste of fresh fruit.
Good balance was present, with natural smoothness. This was gauged by “no sensation overpowering anything else”. With (natural fruit and sharpness), well balanced throughout, it was hard to identify specific traits separately.
Mouthfeel was thin, yet a superior level of flavour burst onto my tastebuds than expected. Most thin ciders tend to be watery, this certainly wasn’t the case here. The flavour was definitely full, and mostly shown by natural apple.
Carbonation Level was lighter than expected due to the bottle promise of “Sparkling”. I’d suggest this was “Lightly carbonated”, at best.
As for character, the taste of the apples seemed individual. Perhaps it was the nature of the red apple combination selected. This didn’t quite launch the product into the “all-time greats”, but certainly aligned well with brand identity.
Whilst it would be nice to see wood, or something a little more unique to enhance the apple further, this cider provided good flavour. Unfortunately, it was weak in most other ways.
Distinctive and natural apple flavour, yet nothing to support it.
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