Thursday 1 November 2012
Olivers Cider and Perry Yarlington Mill Cider
To make a change from Broome Farm, moving a little northwards from Ross on Wye, I came across this bottle of Olivers single variety Yarlington Mill cider and have been waiting for a good opportunity to crack it open. So, representing Yarlies in this little exercise of mine, I give you Olivers.
Now, Yarlington Mill is one of my favourite apples. I am not expecting to learn a whole heap from this (except perhaps how to make the most of it!) but it is a useful exercise in comparison of this bitter sweet fruit to others already reviewed. It is also fair to say that there are many Yarlington Mill ciders out there, from Wales to Wells (etc. etc.) This is just one that I feel shouldn't have been adjusted too much.
The one thing that should be mentioned about this version (I only just noticed it) is that it has been matured in a rum barrel. OK, so lets see if I can separate the rum from the Yarlie?!
To look at, this is an orangy golden colour - typical of Yarlington Mill - and has a modicum of yeast at the bottom of the bottle. It is also 'quite' clear. On opening, it is flat - just as I like it:-) The aroma is quite pungent (in a good way). Again, Yarlington Mill is an intensely aromatic apple; if you get the change, just smell them on the tree! This reminds me a lot of that smell as they come to fully ripe and start to drop. So I get a lot of fruit, but also a reasonable 'other' smell too which to me must be the
rum casks used.
The taste on this cider is beautiful. it is mellow with very little acid (as is expected from a bitter sweet apple, but the tannin is moderate and not too drying. It is also very fruity and earthy - another flavour component of Yarlington Mill (although the wood might play a part in this too). If anything, the rum gets in the way a bit of the fruit for my purposes, but in itself (as a cider) it complements the taste nicely.
A bit about Yarlies. These are a fruity and generous bitter sweet apple, classed as 'medium' or 'moderate' bittersweets. A very brief search shows that they hail from Somerset. Harvesting mid-late October, they are a vintage variety (and very popular too, due to the excellent flavour and heavy cropping). Oh, and I note that the RHS reckons Yarlies are good for nectar collecting bugs, like bees, so if you want just one cider tree - this would be where my money would go.
Back to the cider. The aftertaste is long on fruit and tannins, dying away gently. Overall, this is a real competitor to Kingston Black in terms of flavour, complexity and balance, although for me its a bit too shy on the acid to make the perfect cider on its own. A score of 87/100 puts this one right up there with the best SV's for me. Silver apple for Mr Oliver.