Blackthorn Reserve cider review “Harsh and unbalanced. Traits present, but in anarchy” – (5.5/10).

The Good

“Sweetness present, as promised”.

“Light carbonation, as promised”.

“Great price”.

“Some acidity present”.

“Full flavoured”.

“Fairly practical”.

The Bad

“Thin mouthfeel”.

“Taste not natural”.

“Too much sweetness”.

“Acidity too strong”.

“Dryness too harsh”.


“No bottle backstory”.

“You have to buy 3 litres at once !!”.

“Lost its way in terms of history and website”.

“Bottle shares highly limited information”.

“Slightly unpleasant smell”.

“Aftertaste unnatural”.

“Nothing unique”.

“Inelegant packaging”.


With UK pubs shut due to the virus from last Friday (20th March 2020), undoubtedly people will be beginning to drink at home now. Whilst entertainment is an important buddy of drink, choice of drink can also greatly improve your leisure time; Otherwise, it can severely ruin it, if you select a horrible wine or cider. Thanks to our cider reviews though, you can pick the cider that is right for you. Remember to combine cider shopping with other essentials, and avoid people’s 2 meter personal bubble.

Also, rumour has it the virus doesn’t like alcohol… Waheey have responded to the crisis, by upping our posts to 2 per week (Wednesday and Fridays), keeping your self-isolated eyes entertained.

Enter “Blackthorn reserve” cider !!


“Affectionately known as the locals by thorn”, Blackthorn reserve is my second blackthorn cider reviewed, to date. The gargantuan 3L vessel, may suggest panic buying, but in fact this was unfortunately the only size offered in Iceland where I obtained the drink.

Many moons ago, when I first reviewed a blackthorn drink, I introduced the company as being established in 1972. This was produced in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Candcgrouplc confirm this is still the case, as it has been for 50 years.

Whilst it’s good the drink has kept true to it’s Somerset roots, it’s a shame the range isn’t displayed on Blackthorns’ website, nor on C and C’s.

Thankfully, the tree emblem unites them all, with branding consistent between “Gold”, and “Reserve”, versions.

Whilst visually puffy and stocky, the 3L vessel does equate to good value, for 3-4 unit sessions. For only £3.70, this vessel provides 16.5 units. It’s set at 5.5% ABV. This means for just 93p, you can receive 4.1 units from todays’ Blackthorn reserve.

Blackthorn Gold was £1.58 for similar alcohol level, when buying a 4-pack of cans. Whilst not quite as cheap, this was still a good value offering. This was only 4.7% too, suggesting today’s offering is a little stronger.

Todays “Reserve” is fairly practical, and very good value. Only the plastic packaging, and lack of elegance, detract from this purchase a little.

The bottle suggests reserve, has been made with English cider apples. It also suggests, it was produced by C and C brands in Glasgow. This is a shame, since it implies blackthorn gold has pulled away from its Somerset roots.

In terms of taste expectations:

Disappointingly, the bottle doesn’t add anything to indicate any taste expectations.

Relying on the C and C brands and Blackthorn websites then, we can expect … “Distinctive, clean, crisp”. This suggests natural taste and aftertaste, resembling the fruit on which the drink is based. “Distinctive” suggests there will be some USP. “Clean” suggests no sickly aftertaste. “Fruit becomes sweeter from enduring a harsh, bitter winter”. This suggests some sweetness should be expected. Dryness is also mentioned on the site, suggesting some dryness should be anticipated too. The cider is also Full-bodied aswell. It’s meant to have low acidity though, suggesting tang could be lacking. Through the bottle packaging, some bubbles can be seen, suggesting light carbonation.

Let’s see if it lives up to these bold website claims …


The smell was sweet and fresh, from the off. Emerging steadily, from a moderate head. The scent weakened after a while, to a more yeasty aroma. On pouring, this scent seemed harsher; Possessing a more artificial feel, which wasn’t pleasant.


The taste was immediately sweet, on first sip. It lasted for a short time, before abruptly cutting off with harsh dryness to follow. Whilst dryness was promised, this came across too strongly, leaving an unpleasant feel during the aftertaste. This made the aftertaste unenjoyable.

The carbonation level was light as suggested. On second sip, a high level of tartness, again rather harshly greeted my palette. Since low acidity was promised, considerable tang wasn’t expected. It was pleasant, to an extent though, to cut through the sweetness. Sadly the drink wasn’t balanced, since this acidity, greatly overpowered the sweetness. It was far too dominant into the aftertaste too. This made the aftertaste even more unpleasant. I wasn’t a big fan of the thin mouthfeel either, even though this held sufficient flavour.

Whilst I was hoping for something unique, since this was promised, the truth of the matter was the drink was different, but for the wrong reasons. In many traits, it was far harsher than many other ciders, but this couldn’t be considered a good thing.

All in all, I can’t say I hated the taste, but clearly it wasn’t natural or refined. It had most of the components of good cider, not combined in the right proportions though.


Harsh and unbalanced. Traits present, but in anarchy.

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Related articles

Blackthorn Gold cider

Mallets original cider ( other Shepton Mallet cider)

Brothers toffee apple cider ( produced in Shepton Mallet)


Tags: Shepton Mallet, Blackthorn tree, Blackthorn reserve, reserve cider, Somerset cider, Blackthorn Gold, Coronavirus, benandthegang, reasonedandseasoned, reaseaorg, harsh cider, 5.5% ABV, 3 litres, cheap cider, West Country cider, reserve, C and C, Glasgow, est1972, blogging,

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