Mortimers Orchard English Apple cider review (8.5/10) – “Subtly, natural cider. One too watery to write home about”.
“Pleasant and natural smell”.
“Lightly sparkling as promised”.
“Pleasant, lasting aftertaste”.
“Competitive price for weak bottles”.
“You have to buy 4 at once”.
“Lacking carbonation and sweetness”.
“No backstory on bottle”.
“Not perfectly balanced as promised”.
The bottle states 100% English apple juice, perfect balance, lightly sparkling, and a fresh appley aroma. The (Mortimer’s orchard specific), website, adds “medium dryness” to expectations.
While scanning the vast array of previously sampled and scrutinised alcoholic beverages from supermarket shelves, I was lucky enough to find a rare exception in Sainsbury’s.
Even luckier was the location of production in Much Marcle, Herefordshire. Weston’s was immediately clear from the multipack label, along with Est. 1880. It’s a brand I immediately associate with tradition and heritage in cider. Not because of what I am told online, or even on the packaging, but from the impression the drink provides to my sense-detecting features.
To be honest, I’m surprised my last cider review wasn’t from a Weston’s product; They’re so ubiquitous. I previously wrote about how similar a lot of the (Henry Westons’ labelled) products, were beginning to look. That was one of the things which attracted me to this oddball drink.
It’s packaging is nothing like other Weston’s products I’ve seen before.
The blue and green colour scheme here, lies in stark contrast to the typical dark and rich colours, employed for bottle and branding, on other Weston’s. Today’s drink simply uses clear glass …
This difference gets you thinking what is the story behind it ?
It is Weston’s, so surely it must have a strong identity ?
The website suggests a blend of English apples is used, and a Guy named Guy Lawrence, is part of Mortimer’s orchard drink development. Blends tend to have more variety in taste than monovarietal offerings, and are generally less prone to being a one trick pony. A blend is present here, which sounds good.
So where does this unique name come from ?
Mortimer’s orchard stands on Marcle ridge; a long and narrow hilltop, overlooking Mortimer’s castle. This was apparently a castle built in the 1000’s, making it about 1000 years old.
The castle was originally named Wigmore castle, until it passed into the hands of the Mortimer’s. The Mortimer’s were a family which became very powerful and influential, over a number of welsh territories. They eventually came into conflict with the crown.
Mortimer’s castle became the Mortimer’s base for gaining influence over welsh lands. In doing so, various retaliations occurred, perhaps contributing to the damage seen today on the ruined castle.
Back to the drink …
2 bottles are needed to reach the governments’ recommended “Do not regularly exceed limit”. With 5% ABV, 330ml, at 1.7 units per bottle, this puts 2 bottles well within the 3-4 unit limit for adult men, at 3.4 units. Whilst this makes it practical, both bottles put the cost at just £2.25 per session.
For a 5% or less ABV offering, this isn’t bad value either. You need to buy 4 at once in the supermarkets I visited though, that I won’t name … Sainsbury’s …
At 5.5% ABV, Aspalls on draught provides a costly evening of £3.80 to achieve this. Mortimer’s is similar in price to Weston’s canned offerings such as Stowford press, which comes in at just 4.5% ABV. This sets you back just £1.75 for the limit to be reached. Cans are generally cheaper than bottles though, so the price here is reasonable considering that.
Let’s hope it’s taste lives up to price, practicality, and promises made.
Smell emerged quickly as a potent natural tang. This cut off quickly. Scent was provided for a time, but at a much weaker level, much with the same traits as the initial waft. Limited head emerged supporting the earlier promise of lightly sparkling.
The taste was a little more watery than expected. It provided thin mouthfeel. There was subtle carbonation to match the diminutive theme. The tang, evident in the smell, was dumbed-down a little early on, yet began to develop into the aftertaste. This lingered pleasantly, without sickliness.
The drink was a little too subtle for it’s own good. Balance did seem fair, but certainly not the “perfect” as promised. No dryness was apparent throughout, much unlike me medium dryness level promised online.
Sweetness was lacking overall, as was tang. Character didn’t seem especially unique, no USP really stood out.
For a weaker strength ABV bottle though, it was session-able. This often isn’t the case, particularly in gassier, or stronger beverages.
Subtly, natural cider. One too watery to write home about.
Other Weston’s reviews
Henry Weston’s medium-dry “aged finish” (2017) cider review
Henry Westons’ ” Medium dry” oak aged vintage 2016
Henry Westons’ oak aged vintage
Tags: Henry Westons, westons, oak aged, medium dry, aged finish, oak aged vintage, 1880, much Marcle, Ledbury, Herefordshire, reaseaorg, reasonedandseasoned, 6.8%ABV, 3.4 units, 500ml, protected geographic origin, designation, Geographically protected status, 2018 vintage cider, Mortimer’s orchard, Marcle ridge, Wales, welsh lands, wigmore castle, castle heritage, castle history, benandthegang, reaseaorg,