Friday 9 March 2012

Ross on Wye Cider & Perry Co. Headless Man

When you buy a few ciders that you haven't tried before, there is always one or two that are 'saved' - not sure why, but I get the feeling that they might be special or something. There is, of course, no sense in this behaviour. I hadn't tried any of them before so any one could have been special.

This is a Ross on Wye cider, this time fermented in run casks. So in some ways it ought to be special... I am not generally a big fan of enhanced cider be it by whisky/rum/port casks or by adding something extra like berries or rhubarb. However, I have to be willing to try stuff eh. It is a hard job:-)

Now, for me some 'cask' flavoured ciders are not bad; an understated flavour added to the cider is usually due to the cask having been used for a few years and can add to a cider. However, a new cask - especially a new cask which is not rinsed out - can overpower the cider and just kill it for me. It is curious to note that in competitions 'cask' flavoured ciders often score badly - the added flavour or texture being taken for a fault. Its just a very hard thing to get right.

Mind you, this cider is strong enough! At 7.4% the caption on the label "It might blow your head off" is probably sensible warning. Still, its a fun label and makes a change from the alpaca's:-)

It is labelled as a still cider, so its low fizz is just a touch of carbonation to keep things fresh. Very soon after pouring it is flat and still - and very clear. Hopefully some of the rum will have gone with the filtering. There is a good dose of that earthy west country cider smell about it (and I can detect no rum in the aroma. Perhaps my nose is just too untrained.

There is a stack of fruit in the taste and whilst the first hit is sweet, this gives way to a pleasant tannic cider - almost a bubbly flavour (not champagne 'bubbly', a playful fruitiness to it that is really rather gorgeous. There is little acid in this drink, but it does feel balanced and incredibly more-ish. I have to say, this is going to hit my desert island choice of ciders!!

As for the rum. Well, I should never have questioned Mike Johnson and his team. It is very understated and actually comes in more with the aftertaste than in the taste at all. Now that is either very lucky or very, very well done. The sweetness has died off in the mouthful and all you are left at the end is a warm glow, which could either be down to its strength or the rum 'kick'... its not so much as kick as a friendly nudge.

I am so impressed with this cider. There is so much going on with it and yet it is very easy to drink. All I can say is get a bottle and try it for yourself... a visit to Broome Farm is probably the best thing, but I got this bottle from the Bristol Cider Shop so that is a good alternative.

A score of 96/100 makes this another gold apple for Ross on Wye Cider and Perry Company. 2 out of 2 for them so far! And, this is currently the highest scoring cider of all my reviews. What can I say? Better get a crate of it:-)


  1. Ooops. Just accidentally deleted a comment that this cider is also available at the Essex Cider Shop too... Normally I don't do advertising but I guess in this case I make an exception (sorry whoever posted that:-)

  2. This has changed a bit now - it's 'fermented in an oak barrel' and is 6.8%. Still an outstanding cider, though! I bought it in Favourite Beers in Cheltenham - they stock a good range of Ross cider.