Monday 17 September 2012
Thistly Cross Cider Jaggy Thistle (GBBF)
"What do you think of the Thistly Cross stuff?". I think that is how the conversation went. "Not tried it yet, but I may have room for one more", was my reply. And so, that is why I now move back up to Scotland to try the other producer representing the Scots at GBBF. I doubt I will get too many chances to try this cider anyway, so it would be a perfect candidate for tasting!
Thistly Cross are a relatively new cider company based in East Lothian. Focussing on flavoured as well as traditional cider production, they are perhaps best known of late for their run in with HMRC about the use of whisky barrels for duty purposes (essentially, if the whisky transfers taste, abv etc. to the cider it breaks the rules under HMRC Notice 162 and becomes classified as 'made wine' for duty purposes). I guess its about time this was put to the HMRC test as it has become a popular marketing tool for many cidermakers... however, the down side is that it has put it to the test and many cider makers are now worried about it.
So, this is a faily light golden/yellow cider which is marked as being hazy/clear (see for yourself above). And, well, to be straight... it smells of squash. I have never had that before! I confess that I really want this cider to be good... not least because I prefer drinking good cider, but also because I like the idea of excellent Scottish cider.
Moving to the taste of this cider, the squash-i-ness is still there strongly, though there is a nice apple taste too. Clearly its dessert apples - the acid is strong (though, I am glad to say, this one isn't sour!) But getting beyond the squash is tricky - its quite a thin cider too, which probably doesn't help.
Saying all of that, the aftertaste is fairly nice. I think it might have been sweetened a bit, and this could account for the odd part of the taste.
I would try this again, more to explore the profile more than because I think it is excellent. I do think the scoring is rather harsh - and I am worried that I have taken my frustration at tasting other poor ciders at this festival (and this cider is definitely not 'poor' - more a bit of a challenge).
It scores 61/100. I would be happy to hear from people who score it differently! Hopefully I can re-review it again in the future (though I won't be bothering with the other 'fruit' drinks they produce!)