Sunday 4 September 2011

New Forest Snakecatcher Scrumpy (Dry)

Here we have New Forest Cider's hallmark cider. Its what I know them for best, in any case. I am not sure what the relation of Snakecatcher to the bottles found in Waitrose around the south is, but the traditional Snakecatcher is found in big wooden barrels at their shop, at Borough Market in London and travelling around various shows (where I got this from).

What does that mean? Well, apart from buying something in a quantity as opposed to picking it off a shelf, its going to be a flat, draught cider. I happen to know its full juice too - its one of the benefits of being able to ask the question from those who actually make the stuff. It does shorten its shelf life over bottles though. As you can see this cider came in a plastic container (OK, I almost said milk carton...)

So, before I get too quaint and old worlde - its a nice golden colour and smells of cider apples. Yum. On the down side (a bit) it also smells a little oxidised (how can I describe it? I guess its a slightly sour note to the cider - not so much sour as a bit 'off'). My suspicion is that this is the pay off from buying something from a large oak barrel. If its only half full of cider, then the rest must be air...

By way of confirming this, it also tasted a little oxidised. But this is just getting negatives out of the way. This is a truly deep cider, with deep tannins and a really deep, long aftertaste. I am not joking when I call this a 'no frills' cider. It doesn't attempt to be particularly balanced - it has stacks of character and flavour (and really isn't that much like anything I have reviewed on here in all honesty). I would call it a gutsy cider. All flavour and sod the finess:-)

Dry is pretty accurate. Its bone dry in fact. Next time I may go for a medium or medium dry. Now that is a bad thing to admit!

The aftertaste is a tiny bit odd; probably due to the cider apple varieties used. However, it is deep.

The label calls this stuff 'scrumpy'. As a scrumpy, it is very high quality - no faults other than a tiny bit of oxidisation. However, it is a scrumpy. And if that is what New Forest Cider is trying to produce, then 10/10. It seems to me to be a full juice, unfiltered, un mucked about with cider made solely from cider fruit.

It is surprisingly easy to drink, considering its alcoholic content.

Snakecatcher scored 75/100. I guess it would have got even more if it weren't for the oxidisation.


  1. This is one of my favourite ciders, your notes were pretty much spot on. My favourite way of drinking it is at their site in the New Forest (which I live quite near)straight from the cask. I prefer to only drink the dry.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I have sampled their cider at their premises too, at one of the open days they hold - its very special!