Capel road (Blend no.3) review ” Yellow can compensating for lack of character”- (6.5/10).

The Good
” Practical units per can”
” subtle carbonation and oaky notes”.
” subtle yet pleasant sweetness”.
The Bad
” no real USP except packaging”.
” showy branding not applicable to subtle taste”.
” lack of depth of flavour”
” lack of tang”.
” watery mouth feel”.
” no real dryness as suggested”.
” Pricy by any measure”.
“Very limited smell”.
A few weeks short of a year ago today I reviewed a cider bought from a b and m in Worcester. It was a humble silver looking 330ml can to which I had no expectations due to it’s extremely low 50p price tag and basic packaging. That review ended in me eating my words and awarding a score of 8.5/10. Today I am almost a year older which makes it fitting to review the older blend known as capel road blend number 3.  I introduced this in the number 5 review as blend numbers 5’s more ostentatious cousin.
This is because the packaging from the website looks more vibrant and yellow with perhaps more to boast about and slightly less plain branding than the number 5. If the quality is anything similar then it certainly deserves to make the can noticeable for a change. I am therefore looking forward to sampling.
For practicality the can is identical to number 5 with 5.2% ABV, 330 ml petite can and 1.7 units per vessel. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a can as cheap as number 5 from b and m so had to fork out £1.50 from Sainsbury’s. This means an extra £2 to achieve within the limit range set by government recommendations of 3-4 units per day. In this case it equates to 2 cans combined at 3.4 units which reaches this nicely. At £3 though, the cider doesn’t seem the cheapest option. Even Black dragon Welsh cider which I recently reviewed, reached this limit for 5p less and I regarded that as rather pricey.
A little bit impractical then but at least it has all the features of Number 5 including good units per can, easy to carry, neat, and produced by one of my favourite cider factories in the west … Weston’s.
This is located near Ledbury at a village called much marcle. This is in Herefordshire at the heart of the West Country. Henry Weston established this factory in 1880.
So what about taste expectations ?
Well it has apparently been matured in oak and steel vats in an 18 month process which has apparently infused a full bodied, oaky, smokey flavour. The can confirms this along with the website and also advises to serve well chilled. This may seem common sense although some ciders I have had previously are actually served at room temperature such as on-Draught black rat.
Full bodied to me means not watery and the can mentioning dry aswell as complex leads me to a more complete range of taste expectations. Blend number 5 boasted dryness but didn’t deliver which was a bit of a letdown and with my tongue recently tuned with the developing dryness of Black dragon cider there isn’t really anywhere to hide for number 3.
Twisted tree seems very good at delivering woody flavour so that will be used for comparison for the oaky and smokey flavour. Since number 5 was lacking in sweetness, carbonation or fruitiness that will be under scrutiny here. I would hope for some good acidity level and dryness however at the least. Carbonation should be light based on that of number 5.
After a short shark crack very limited scent or bubbles emerged. Almost like the cider was hiding its ostentatious branding. This didn’t last either and was rather underwhelming. Slight acidity was detectable but nothing like the Black dragon or merry-down.
The taste was also subtle from first sip and not very full flavoured as suggested. It felt a little watery without the body of a rich cider. The mouthfeel therefore was not anything special. After a few more sips it was clear that carbonation was subtle which was pleasant if a little lacking. The acidity level was minimal without the tang I experienced from Number 5 which was a shame. Whilst the cider didn’t seem totally moist it certainly wasn’t a dry since no puckering or fussy mouth impression was detectable. A bit of a letdown there. The cider did have a little complexity although this was just a vague woody note.
The cider was naturally sweet yet not bitter certainly so was drinkable. The fruitiness was not really noticeable however which I was hoping for due to the rural setting and location of production.
A slightly sickly sweet aftertaste was present which did taste natural and not artificial but wasn’t anything special.
A weak, almost still drink without any depth of flavour. Subtle carbonation and building sweetness were compromised throughout by a lack of developed oakiness, watery mouthfeel, no real Appley impression. Notable lack of dryness and acidity were also apparent.  Expensive product with inappropriate showy branding for a shy tasting product. A bit of a letdown.

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tags: black dragon cider, dragon, welsh cider, capel road, westons, westons cider, est. 1880, henry westons, blend number 3, blend number 5, much Marcle, black rat cider, Ledbury, much Marcle, Reaseaorg, reasonedandseasoned, Capel road number 3,

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