Saturday 5 May 2012
Mr Whitehead's Cirrus Minor
I am familiar with Mr Whiteheads cider. Not just because it seems to be slowly becoming more national - I can buy it in my local Tesco's and also I believe it featured in a recent Wetherspoons cider festival. I can also buy it at just about any beer/cider festival that I care to go to! Sadly, this is usually in its Strawberry or Blackcurrent form (which for the unenlightened is not actually cider at all - it is fruit wine. It is not strictly even allowed to be called cider!)
Anyway, I guess one should not judge a cider maker just on their weak points eh. Cirrus Minor is certainly looks the business - a cider made with apples (I know this because its on the ingredients list). However, as with Heart of Hampshire, it doesn't mention sulphite. So it is either taking a chance that it won't go bad, or else it is pasteurised at bottling to ensure it stays OK.
Cirrus Minor has a very fruity smell to it. Quite a large carbonation too - and not exactly foamy which would expect from bottle conditioning. It looks filtered but says its not on the bottle so I can go with that.
Medium Sweet isn't really my thing, but seems to be so popular that it is hard to avoid. And the sweetness is there - in full measure... as well as a fruity cider taste and some kind of berry taste going on (no, I am not obsessed with fruits in cider, there really is a taste of some kind of berry).
It says that this is a blend of desert and cider apples. And it tastes good and balanced. It is still quite berry fruity - cannot place the fruit but it is mainly in the smell. There is some tannin in here - certainly much more than in Heart of Hampshire - and I have to say that I prefer it... sweetness taken into consideration.
Aftertaste is sweet but still fairly balanced. There was always going to be plenty of sharp going on, and it is both refreshing and interesting - if only I can place the 'berry' smell and sensation I get.
This is a very competent cider from a producer that seems to have grown hugely in the last few years. A good bronze apple for Mr Whiteheads with a score of 73/100. Its nice to see that they can make cider as well as their fruit grog:-)