Thursday 22 September 2011

Merrydown Medium Cider

OK, I have mixed emotions about this cider. In real terms its a national gem - a cider company from Sussex who were renowned for making cider from desert fruit (the eastern style) to produce a very clean and light cider (so I am told). A great company set up in Wartime UK with a solid foundation.

Then it was bought lock stock and barrell (so to speak) by SHS Sales and Marketing (a commodity sales company) and the premises in Sussex closed. For a while it was made in Belgium and now is run under the name Merrydown plc. However, Merrydown plc is still a subsiduary of SHS and I believe they also produce Schloer under the same name. It will be interesting to find the comparison between this cider and its 'kind of' apple juice cousin.

What, you have never heard of SHS??? Well, if I said the names Douwe Egberts, Chewits, Nivea, Nurofen, Johnson & Johnson and even Durex I think you will start to get an idea of their scale. Shareholders, bankers and accountants.... OK, that is unfair. But I bet they have a disproportionate amount of lawyers, accountants and bankers. (and before you sue me, it is just my humble observation and not based on any study. Please do correct me if I am wrong about this:-) And just before I make this one of the least objective reviews so far, I can confirm (from SHS's website) that they also produce the WKD brand... though I am not sure if they just market it. You see, whether they actually own it or not is not exactly clear on the website... which is very clever marketing really - and that isn't just true of WKD, I am not entirely sure where Merrydown stands either.

So, decks stacked... No, not really. I do like to do a little digging around and Merrydown is an obvious choice for doing just that. I guess at the sharp end there are cider men, producing their cider in the corner of SHS's cider shed... Fun over, lets review.

Merrydown pours a very faint yellow, and clearly has been carbonated judging by the froth. The aroma is slightly appley. Its a little sulphity too. Its fairly hard to place - although all becomes clear with the first sip. Very sweet (sorry - the last review went like this eh... will try harder!!). Not intensely appley, although I would say that this is a cider - unlike Koppaberg, WKD and Stella. However, I doubt that the total apple content is greater than 50% - and that is me being generous.

There is little aftertaste outside sweetness. No boiled sweets though (whiich I am happy about). On a positive note, I finished the glass and will pour another (gotta get through the bottle:-) so its not gone down the sink.

At the end of the day its a safe, pretty bland, overly sweetened and vague cider aimed at a part of the market that I am not in. If you are a Merrydown drinker, I urge you to try Aspalls. It will change your life. And on from Aspells something like Gospel Green or Whin Hill (although I think they may use some cider varieties).

A score of 44/100

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