Now for a cider producer that I am more than a little familiar with. Having holidayed in West Dorset for a few years Lyme Bay and Perry's have been staple lubricants to many a camping barbeque.
For this reviewing blog, I have deliberately started with ciders that are easy to get hold of from the supermarket shelves. This isn't one of those ciders - although you can get hold of it fairly easily around the west of Dorset. Dorset has a good heritage of making cider, albeit that most reporters of the history of the county suggest that it was mainly made by the farming community for themselves. Later, many of the orchards were grubbed and Dorset varieties lost - although these are being rediscovered (click this to find out more).
On opening (and stuffing my nose into the top of the bottle) the smell is delicately tempting - its the smell of a cider that hasn't been adjusted too much and, rather nicely, the smell is not of apple sauce or too big. There is a bit of fizz in the bottle, and my guess would be that this is a force carbonated product (usually this means it has been paseurised too, but don't let that put you off - full juice ciders can be sweetened, pasteurised and carbonated... they are still full juice:-). Most contract bottlers will do all this and then stick it in a bottle too.
The only bit about contract bottling is that they do tend to filter too - which for me simply removes some of the flavour and character of the cider. I am happy to be corrected, but this may be why the flavours are more delicate in this cider. Its definitely what it says on the bottle though - "made from west country cider apples". The tannin is in the smell and there is a bittersweet flavour to it with a gentle tannin.
Other than the filtering, the only thing that bothers me is the low strength, suggesting it may have been cut a little... this could also be why the flavours are more delicate than I would expect.
Its really rather refreshing and delicious. My pretend friend on his cider journey would definitely try this one... although that could be because I would take them to Dorset and end up trying it. This cider scored 66/100.