Strongbow Rose cider review “Sweet, cheap, fruity. Tasted good though” – (8.75/10).
“True to it’s promises”.
“Natural taste and aftertaste”.
“Good level of natural sweetness”.
“Visually appealing branding”.
“Nice medium mouthfeel”.
“Backstory not on bottle”.
“Carbonation too light”.
“Not enough tang”.
“Not enough elements to balance”.
Few ciders bring back worse memories for me than Strongbow. That allegedly popular beverage, which barely resembles the apple from which the drink is based.
Consequently, this is my first review of a Strongbow cider ever !!
A few things have lead to this …
Firstly, their recent inclusion of a “Rose” into their range, aligns with my recent Rose cider review posts. Secondly, both “Cloudy” and “Rose” options have been added, since I discovered I hated the “Original” version; These new additions, mean the range may include drinks I actually enjoy.
Finally, I am sadly beginning to run out of readily available supermarket ciders to purchase for review, excluding fruity options, which I don’t review anyway.
So now to introduce Strongbow…
Strongbow “Original” and “Cloudy” offerings according to the website, are produced and pressed, in Herefordshire. This may come as no surprise, since over 50% of UK cider is produced there (2).
It may surprise you to learn that H.P Bulmer, founder of Bulmer’s cider, started Strongbow. The Strongbow name came from a nickname of a great English knight, “Richard De Clare” (1). Since Bulmer’s was established in 1887, this gives rich opportunity for Strongbow, to have since sculpted a highly accomplished product, by the time of this 2020 review (3). Bulmer’s also is based in Herefordshire, sharing Strongbow’s environment, thereby keeping it true to its roots (4).
Perhaps less relevant is the establishment of Strongbow as a brand itself, in 1960. The Strongbow website, provides much information about both the company and production process, consequently increasing a feel of brand authenticity. I was actually impressed following that research.
Also impressive, is the companies’ ciders getting stocked in all of the “big four” supermarkets; Namely Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s.
Furthermore, the company lists calorie values for each of its drinks, on it’s website.
Introducing Strongbow Rose …
Things go a little downhill when we consider the Rose offering, one which has failed to make it onto the Strongbow website yet.
Fortunately though, an independent newspaper article, clarifies its arrival to all major supermarkets on Friday 28th February 2020. This explains just how recent the Rose addition is (6) This somewhat excuses the lack of website information from Strongbow, regarding this offering.
Other than the assertion of the drink using “Blush red apples” though, no further information can be obtained from this website, or the Strongbow official website, without consulting the bottle (6).
The term “Blush red apple”, seems to relate to a faint red colouring of the skin, as seen in apple varieties such as Braeburn (8).
These apples arn’t to be confused with “red fleshed varieties”, as seen in my previous Rose reviews though. These have red insides, and are a hybrid of crabapples with cider apple varieties (9).
“Blush red apples” can have non-red flesh, as shown by the Braeburn, which actually has yellow to gold flesh (8).
To clarify, as mentioned on the Strongbow Rose cider ingredients list, concentrate from carrot has been used to colour this drink. This allows the drink to be defined as Rose cider, since it’s pink in colour (9). This is nothing to do with the blush red or (lightly red skinned) apples, used to make the drink though.
Cost and practicality …
The bottle mentions 4% ABV, 500ml, and 2 units. This means 2 bottles would be needed to reach the top end of the governments daily “Do not regularly exceed” recommendation.
This means that the drink is practical In terms of alcohol level, aligning well with this recommendation.
It’s also extremely cheap. Just £1 per bottle meaning for the 2 bottle session, it would only cost £2, which is great value for a Rose.
Putting this in context, my fellow Rose ciders reviewed, set me back: Thatchers Rose £3.52, Kopparberg £4.40, and Angry Orchard Rose £6, for the session. This makes today’s drink £1.52 cheaper than the nearest offering, “Thatchers”, which was previously the cheapest Rose I’d reviewed. This confirms the great value of today’s offering (7).
Taste expectations …
The bottle adds “Lightly sparkling”, also reiterating the assertion of “Blush red apples”. Other than this though, it doesn’t clarify anything helpful for gauging taste expectations. A head can be seen through the bottle, which supports the notion of light carbonation. It’s good that clear glass has been used to reveal this.
Without further ado, let’s test the drink !
The scent emerged from a small effervescent bundle of white foam, as a beer-like sweetness. It seemed to cut off quite quickly, yet persisted on subsequent samples for a while. This seemed a natural, yet non-overpowering, aroma.
The taste was highly fruity. It had a pleasant natural sweetness from the first sip, and a nice freshness from natural fruit. Mouthfeel felt medium, yet this was perfectly adequate, since flavour was full and confident. Carbonation was very light. Perhaps, a touch lighter than promised, but was present at least.
The acidity level appeared very subtle, so the drink lacked a bit of tang. No dryness could be detected throughout consumption. At least it wasn’t promised though.
Whilst full-flavoured, the drink wasn’t overly filling, meaning it was highly session-able. This was helped by how smooth the flavour was, from beginning till end.
One of the main drawbacks was character. No woodiness or anything unique, could be noticed. Also, the drink couldn’t be described as balanced, due to sweetness dominating acidity.
Yes, the apples tasted nice, but that wasn’t sufficient to turn this evidently pleasant cider, into a great one.
The aftertaste persisted as a pleasant taste of apple, rather than sickly sweetness. This suggested some level of tartness was present, and the drink was natural. The aftertaste lingered at a weak level for a while, yet wasn’t unpleasant.
“Sweet, cheap, fruity. Tasted good though”.
Angry orchard Rose
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