Bulmer’s Orchard Pioneers Green Apple cider review (6.75/10)- “Natural and tangy, not anything else though”.
“Practical, once bought”.
“Appley strong tang”.
“Harsh, not smooth”.
“Mouthfeel too thin”.
“Simplistic brand message”.
“Expensive to buy”.
“Sweetness not even throughout consumption”.
“One dimensional taste”.
Many moons ago, I reviewed a cider from Bulmer’s. Bulmer’s “Original”. A drink which had become synonymous with the entire brand.
It only scored (7/10), though.
Fortunately, some innovation followed providing 2 new Bulmer’s drinks, named “Orchard Pioneers”.
One of these was named after the grower, Kier Rogers, who apparently grows apples along the river Wye. Sadly, when I reviewed this “Orchard pioneers: Kier’s cloudy Apple”, it scored a dismal (6.5/10).
I never got round to review it’s range partner, “Orchard pioneers: Sarah’s red Apple”. This was purportedly named after Sarah Hawkins. A cider producer with a farm in Bosbury, Herefordshire.
With Kiers “Green” branded offering, and Sarah’s “Red” branded offering, it was unusual when I heedlessly stumbled upon 2 new offerings, reminiscent of my previously reviewed ciders, yet not identical in branding.
These offerings were packaged in multipacks of 4. They were each comprised of small 330ml bottles. Packs labelled “Green” and “Red” Apple anonymously.
It seems to me that the omission of the name Sarah and Kier, was more for branding than because these multipacks feature an entirely new drink.
It takes quite a lot of breath, and dare I say time, to announce
“try the new Bulmer’s Orchard Pioneers Sarah’s Red apple cider” whereas
“Bulmer’s red apple cider” by orchard pioneers, is certainly easier to say and memorise.
That said, I can only review the drinks offered to me, so I’ll give these multipacks the fair chance at the “new” products, they claim to be; Therefore ignore my suspicion that they’re the old orchard pioneers offerings in disguise.
I guess the 4 pack idea is quite a commercial one. To be honest, I’d rather buy and drink 2, 500ml bottles, than 4, 330 ml ones of an evening.
You need to spend £4 though, on their product at once.
These multipack offerings are available at Tesco, for example. Also detailed on the packaging is 5% ABV strength.
With my old “Kiers” review (link below), I can see this too was suspiciously listed at 5% ABV, hinting at a rebrand of the original orchard pioneers range.
Today we review the NEW “Green” offering. Online articles suggest the new style of smaller 330ml bottles, and white label, is to try to reengage the mass market with the drink of cider. Whilst a novel idea in terms of appearance, by shrinking sizes and becoming more expensive, this I’d expect to put people off, if anything.
The bottle look appears plainer which isn’t good, and it’s lower capacity also makes a session more fiddly. The removal of Kiers name from the bottle, sadly lends itself to a more mass-produced offering. Bit of a U-turn since the release of the Original “Orchard pioneers” range, which was designed to escape from this.
The descriptors “Bitter sweetness” for the red, and “Crunchy sweetness” for the green offerings, both fall flat.
Firstly, how does “crunchy” taste in relation to sweetness ?
Secondly, what does “bitter” sweetness mean ?
I prefer “bitter” slightly, since there’s a type of Apple known as bittersweet. These have a “natural mix of fruit sweetness and tannins”, but bitterness and sweetness are still quite distinct entities. From this Apple type though, at least I can expect some dryness and sweetness.
Now to the bottle …
So as for today’s drink, Kier Rogers is mentioned on the bottle, but only in very small writing. He is defined as an “asparagus grower”, “sausage maker”, and “Ibiza clubber”. Quite an eclectic mix of leisure pursuits then.
Funny how, “Growing apples along the river Wye”, didn’t qualify for this list.
Still, since it’s labelled a “new generation” cider, I guess you have to slip in the “Ibiza party lifestyle”, to gain a following.
Whilst I’m not a fan of the slogan or branding, 1.7 units at 5% ABV, for 330ml per bottle, does mean a rather practical 2 bottles at 3.4 units; Planting it midway through the governments “Do not exceed regularly” range.
Other than “crunchy sweetness straight from the bottle”. There really is no backstory mentioned here. Bit of a shame for a cider maker well over 100 years old.
So as for expectations, I’ll go in with an open mind. Gauging whether it’s similar to the Kiers cloudy Apple cider I gave (6.5/10) to, in 2017.
This had weak acidity, sweetness, thin to medium body, no dryness, lack of aftertaste, and no fizziness.
Let’s see …
A rather faint, sickly yet fruity waft, murmured into my nose. This lasted just a short time, and wasn’t particularly memorable. It did seem more fruity on pouring, and a little less artificial. This maybe because the bottle rim was too narrow to properly gauge the scent profile.
Again, the bubbles quickly subsided to quell any remaining scent emission.
On first sip, a rather watery sweet liquid touched my tastebuds. I can’t say I was surprised, except for a hint of acidity I wasn’t expecting.
On my second sip, this acidity took over from the sweetness, giving this drink some depth of flavour.
Perhaps I was too harsh in my low expectations…
This tartness was shrouded in a body of fruity flavour. The apple could actually be tasted ! It even resembled eating a green apple … Hurrah !
It was a shame this tartness totally dominated everything after the first sip though. Very one dimensional …
This prevented the drink being considered well-balanced. It also made it clear things need to be mixed well.
Mouthfeel was a little thin. This may have been very thin, but the full flavour made up for this, if it was the case.
On swilling, it was clear there was some carbonation, but this was too light.
Aftertaste lingered for some time as tart apple, which whilst one dimensional, wasn’t wholly unpleasant.
Overall, it had a few key differences to the “cloudy Apple” previously reviewed. These included: Much greater acidity level, and noticeable aftertaste. These features were pleasant, hence the marginally higher score. (6.75 here, vs 6.5 there).
Natural and tangy, not anything else though.
slightly-unnatural-acidity-and-sweetness-not-unpleasant/ ( 3 Kiers review here)
Kiers, kier Rogers, green apples, crunchy sweetness, wye, river wye, Bulmer’s, est. 1887, commercial cider, multipack cider, English cider, Hereford cider, Herefordshire cider, reaseaorg, Benandthegang, Orchard pioneers,