Friday 28 October 2011

Friels 100% Pure Apple Cider

Where do I start on Friels cider? Well, to start its all a bit odd on the bottle stakes:

"For true freshness sulphites not used". Hmmm. Not entirely sure what the point of that statement is; a majority of traditional, artisan (i.e. non conglomerate) cider makers use sulphites - apples even contain it at tiny levels! And anyway - the drink looks darn near filtered to within an inch of its life - and I'll bet it's pasteurised too.

I am expecting it to be dry though - no sugar or sweeteners. I suppose that doesn't include more pasteurised concentrate though does it.

And exactly who are they appealing to with the skimpy clad lady on the front of the bottle? (it was the first comment my wife made about it!).

Yes, I have taken a little exception to the labelling. Especially when I have poured a glass and it smells of boiled apple sweets (read: WKD!) And it is only 4.9% - below the 'safe' level of alcohol for a naturally and traditionally made cider... though if it has been processed (as I think it may be) then I suppose there is little natural about it.

"Each pint has the juice of 10 apples"... is that actually a fact or a generalisation? I am trying to think of how much juice 10 apples gives. But then, I don't have to. In a feat of 'careful marketing' I can see that this cider is made from concentrate, reconstituted with water to bring it to a consistant 4.9%.

OK, so I am not a fan without even trying. But I think their marketing guy needs to be taken down a peg - honesty neither means brashness and knowing thy subject. High quality cider is not made this way (notice I skip the word 'premium' for the valueless word it is).

And boiled sweets it is - with a touch of syrup (tastes a little like medicine) and a vast sweetness to it. I guess you can do all that with concentrate. The aftertaste is not huge, but all the way through it is apple juice syrup that is not majorly unpleasant, but it is not cider as I know it to be.

Sorry that the most of the review was about the bottle. I really don't have a whole lot to say about the cider inside it.

It scored 34/100


  1. The point of the comment 'no sulphites' is important because some of us are allergic to sulphites which can trigger in my case a serious asthma attack and even anaphalactic shock so hooray finally a 'safe' alcoholic drink

  2. Ah, but the point of my comment is that they say 'no sulphites FOR freshness' (i.e. not using sulphites makes the drink fresher). That is exactly why many traditional producers use sulphites - so its a silly statement. However, its also made from concentrates and adjusted so there may well be no need for sulphites.

    I agree it is tricky to balance, although there are many cider producers who also don't use sulphites (its by no means a necessity). So, if you are looking for a cider that doesn't taste of boiled sweets try something like a Mr Whiteheads (no sulphites) or if you can find it 'Salt Hill'... there are others.

    Thanks for the comment though.

  3. How can you possibly comment on a drink without tasting it?

  4. I know plenty of people who judge stuff before they try it, and I agree its not good.

    However, if you are talking about this review... ummm... look at the photo, the bottle is empty! I NEVER review a cider on here without trying it and writing it up.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Ah, just reread the post. I think you misunderstood the "not a fan before I try it"... or taking it too far. I did try it and I stand by the scores I gave it.

    Mind you, fair play to them actually admitting using AJC!

  6. The cider went down a treat at our vintage/retro wedding last September, and those very 1940s looking retro bottles were just the thing for a recycled vase on each table with a red gerbera and white gypsophilia.. I had fun drinking the cider to collect 20 bottles and I have a sweet tooth...we called the attractive lady on the bottle "Rosie" - and cider with rosie at the wedding was a talking thank you Friels...

  7. You know, I have absolutely no argument against that whatsoever:-) I am very glad it worked for you and that you had a good wedding day!

    Not entirely sure what drinking 20 bottles of Friels does to someone though?!

  8. I bought this a few times and quite enjoyed it - largely because of the relief of finding a cider without added sulphites. (Artisan cider makers, please take note: sulphites do cause problems with some people, albeit minor in my case.) I was going to buy some more yesterday when, turning round the bottle, I noticed the warning "contains sulphites". The packaging seems otherwise unchanged. It turns out I had unwittingly bought a sulphite-added bottle last time and I now have this sitting unloved in the fridge. :(

  9. Chris,

    I sympathise - sulphites are one of the few effective ingredients used by traditional cider makers to prevent infection prior to fermentation and also for cider that needs storing without infection also. The alternative is to use commercial processes such as pasteurisation, cultured yeasts and filtering...

    There are some that make cider without sulphites and they are worth seeking out. If you are near Berkshire, Salt Hill (and possibly Ciderniks) don't use sulphites.

    Are you also saying that Friels ow use sulphites (or are admitting to it anyway)? That is a shame, as it was probably its main saving grace! (personal taste though!!)

    Cheers for the comment

  10. Well, I love the stuff. One of the nicest bottled ciders - if not the nicest - out there, in my opinion!

  11. I respect that - have you tried something like... Henney's Apple Sweet/Medium Dry? Or perhaps Perry's Morgan Sweet (or even some of the Aspall range)?

    All of these are more 'cider' than Friels and (personally) I would put all of them above it.


  12. I'm drinking a bottle of friels cider right now, and it clearly says 'contains sulphites' on the back, just above the address on the back. It's a bit sweet for me...

  13. That is interesting - I have zoomed in on the photo of the bottle that I reviewed in 2011 and in the same place it says 'NO sulphites for freshness'

    In a way, using sulphites is a more safer option - although of course those who cannot tolerate sulphites have lost a drink:-)

  14. I'm not really a cider drinker - I prefer ale, with my current favourites being Taylor's Landord, and various hoppy IPAs.

    However, I really like this stuff as a refreshing drink. It's far nicer than any of the other commonly-available (read: from the offy or supermarket) stuff I've tried.

    Have you tried Dog Dancer?

  15. First time I saw the labeling on the bottle for this I thought it was cooking oil or something similar :P
    Not much of a fan of this, but loved the honesty; clearly stating that they use concentrated apple juice. Obvious I know, but that's more than you get with most cheap ciders.

  16. True about the honesty I guess, And true about the bottle... odd!


  17. Some people might find the label insulting and maybe it should be stocked on the top shelf with the lads mags. Who did the marketing - incredible piece of work - completely off target. There must have been a trade decription issue with regards to the sulphides.
    The cider is very poor bordeline terrible - I won't be buying again.

  18. Not a cider. This is a fizzy apple juice + alcohol alco-pop. As such here today and gone tomorrow