Another cider from St. Ives here. This is the fifth in the range. It promised to be an altogether different sort of cider from the first three I tried. When I tasted this at the Sea Shanty Festival in Falmouth a month ago, it really hit the spot as a dry cider. On a hot summer’s day, sometimes drinks taste better. Did this hold up? And more importantly, was it as good as the Hell’s Mouth?
Profile: This is a premium extra dry farmhouse style cider. The reverse label promises a long heritage of traditional cider making. The apples are a proud and rare Cornish variety and are grown at a single orchard in Townshend between St. Erth and Helston. Further, the farmer is a former gardener at Trelissick, a National Trust property near Truro, who has been given custody of a museum orchard. No wonder this is called a “heritage cider”. This is more like a scrumpy than Hell’s Mouth, but with a few key differences.
Colour: As you can see from the image, it is a bold and full-bodied yellow colour with a hint of brown. It’s slightly cloudy too, taking away any hint that it has been filtered for smoothness. Again, this puts you in mind of traditional and old style ciders that challenge the pale, light coloured drinks that most people get from the supermarket. Paler than the Hell’s Mouth and cloudier.
Scent: It’s very refined on the nose, not your typical scrumpy scent, but feels like scrumpy nonetheless. It has a pleasant citrusy tang – almost like lemon but perhaps a little sweeter. I was put in mind of something like lime. St. Ives add unsweetened apple juice to their other ciders and it shows. The lack of sharpness in the scent suggests that this is not the case here.
Flavour: The important thing is always the flavour. The Hell’s Mouth was 7.4%, so quite strong. This is a more normal 5.6%. Undoubtedly, it tastes of apple (duh) and it is very dry. I mean, sandpaper dry. Is that a bad thing? Not to me! The drier the better! Yes it’s dry, but it’s also smooth – surprisingly smooth. Dry ciders tend to be sharp and a little rough around the edges. Not so with this, it’s easy to drink. Again there is that hint of citrus, a slightly underlying citrus sweet that I couldn’t quite define to I am sticking with lime again. I think this is my favourite of their brand but it is a limited edition.
Verdict: This is the dry cider I think I have always wanted. It is simply delicious and easy to drink. Some cider drinkers avoid dries because they don’t quite suit the pallet. It has a great flavour, a good body, is nice and smooth with a pleasant hint of citrus. From the first sip to the after taste, this is a fantastic, locally produced Cornish traditional style cider.
Marks out of 10: 9/10. I don’t think this will convince many who prefer mediums and sweet ciders, but it will help dispel some of the belief that dries are naturally undrinkable. It’s a heritage cider and strong on flavour. Although it tastes great, I don’t think it’s an every-day thing. Still, a fantastic job from St. Ives!