Tuesday 17 April 2012

Gwatkin Old Rats Tale

Last on my list of ciders from the January trip to the Bristol Cider Shop (probably because it is the smallest bottle!!) The Old Rats Tale from Gwatkins is actually quite a clever name for a cider.

The 'story' goes that farmers either used to put rats in to fermenting cider, or that the rats fell into the open barrels. The acid essentially dissolved them and added 'body' to the cider. OK, its probably not just an old wives tale to the extent that cider would and could have been fermented in open barrels; although I am sure that even in the rusty (should that be rustic? :-) old days there would have been some kind of closure to prevent things from falling in. However, I doubt anyone actually did it on purpose (and to my mind rats are not a part of the practice that I would associate with quality, heritage cider!)

Apart from the name, this is a very respectable looking cider - very dark when poured and I am looking forward to seeing how dry it is. Not sure why it says to watch out for sediment as its is as clear as a bell and a fair carbonation to it as well. Once again, it is nice to see cider makers leading the way by giving an ingredients list (OK, a short one - but they are the best!!). It'll be a long wait before ingredients listing on alcohol becomes standard though - I cannot see the wine or beer industries being too keen on it... and some cidermakers may not be too enthusiastic either.

Anyway, it smells all cidery - faintly cidery I should say. Very fruity too.

The flavour that first hits you is bittersweet fruit, although there is another note going on too - it has to come from the barrel as its not a cider flavour. And no, I don't think its just oak (unless the oak was spooned in!) It doesn't ruin the cider though and dies off pretty quickly. This leaves a mildly sharp cider taste with plenty of tannin going on. Its good (although the spirit taste does keep hitting you each and every mouthful, which actually gets a little dull. I must say, to its defence, that I do find anything but a slight hint of spirit cask distracting - so I don't have that much tolerance to be fair.

The aftertaste is warm and tannic, and pretty long. Its just a shame its a small bottle!!

A respectable bronze apple with a score of 77/100.

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