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!)


  1. Apparently at least some selection of Thistly Cross ciders should be available in Sainsburys shortly, if not already. I've not had a chance to try it for a long time, despite my Scottish location.

  2. On the Thistly Cross website is a list of locations where you can buy their ciders. I found one in Edinburgh last year in some whiksy shop on the Royal Mile. They also had Burrow Hill cider:)

  3. Thanks for that, will take a look. I had no idea you could get Burrow Hill so far from Somerset as well!


  4. Yep, and I must say that I was quite amazed when I found Gwynt Y Ddraig farmhouse cloudy scrumpy and JK Golden Orchards Scrumpy Hard Cider (american!) in Edinburgh too:) And this American one was brought from america by Thistly Cross:) Anyway, I haven't seen this Jaggy Thistle cider, but as I am trying right now their Original Cider (still) I sadly must say that they used apple juice too make it sweeter. But still it's nice:)

  5. krakow can now taste thistly cross in the omerta in krakow!

  6. Right. A year has past, and I finally got my hands on the Jaggy Thistle thanks to Growlers UK based in Edinburgh.

    Now, I'm afraid that the cider that I'm drinking right now is slightly different from the one that you tried last year. First of all is the ABV - not 7,1 but 7.4. Second - no squashiness. Third - no cloudy/hazy colour, just bright and light golden. Forth - it's been sweetened with apple juice, so the taste faded a little. Anyway that's still the best Thistly Cross so far. At least it's not overly sweet and it doesn't taste like Żubrókwa (a type of Polish vodka) mixed with apple juice!

  7. Having recently been to Scotland, I have three Thistly Cross ciders (bought at a Tesco's somewhere north of Edinburgh). Not opened them yet, and avoided the fruit based versions!

  8. Cool:) Everyone here seems to be mad about the Thistly Cross ciders, and I really don't get the hype. Prove me wrong, I dare you:) I even heard that their Whisky Cask is one of the best ciders ever - and I found it really difficult to drink! I can't wait for your reviews!:)

  9. It's funny you should mention that as I have 3 bottles of Thistly Cross on my shelf waiting to be opened... including a bottle of the Whisky Cask.