Tuesday 6 August 2013

Gwatkin's 'Silly Ewe' Dry Cider

So, Gwatkins haven't done that well at my hands recently - I have found the ciders far too sweet... and a sweetness that kills off most of the rest of the character of the cider. This one, however, is their dry so I have higher hopes for it.

Over-sweetening of cider is a real shame - especially when the cider behind all that sweetness seems like it is really good. I know where it comes from - the mass selling ciders are sickly sweet and the public is now regarded by some as having a real sweet tooth when it comes to alcohol. However, these sweet commodity ciders have the character of a ghost - they are not as intense as the real, full juice versions and, again, large producers have convinced themselves that this is what people want. To some degree this is true - milder, sweeter, watery ciders are popular. Its more the bullshit marketing and lying that annoys me - these people have convinced themselves that this is all OK... you know, get around in a group of like-minded people and tell yourselves you are good over and over again until you believe it!

I didn't mean to go off on one, so apologies (and apologies for the swearing - though its how I feel so I won't delete it). The point is that some traditional cider makers have also convinced themselves that they should offer over sweet ciders. This is also a crime, as cider should be as described - a dry should not have been sweetened... or perhaps a touch. A medium dry shouldn't be a dry OR a sweet in disguise. As consumers, we pay good money for decent cider and I (for one) feel a bit conned when the cider I buy is far too sweet for what it says on the label.

Anyway, lets not prejudge this cider eh!  I like the label... OK it is a bit of a silly name, but it is a nice simple design and at least it is memorable. It does seem a bit on the weak side at 4.5% - a lot on the weak side if I am honest (for something that has fermented out to dry). However, it pours out golden and still... I have to say that the cap was very loose on this bottle though!

In terms of smell, I am getting definite farmyard off this cider. Rough and tannic and bold fruitiness. However, the smell is really not matched in the taste at all. IT IS SWEET!! Well, as I wrote that first bit before opening the bottle I could say it was prophetic... though I suspect it is par for this particular producers course. What is a dry cider doing tasting all apple juicy and sweet?! And there is a lot of juice in here - in fact, once again, it seems to dominate any cider character that may have been present. There is a little tannin, but this is coming out of the juice too.

In a positive mindset, I would say that this is a fruity cider, though it is almost apple juice fruity. There is very little acid (or at least I cannot detect that much over the sweetness of the juice. The aftertaste is really quite long although I am not that happy about it as it is just the sweet juice I can taste.

This is an excellent example of what I meant above about over sweetening. I doubt Mr Gwatkins reads this blog, but if he does, please - please - please. Make a dry cider that is dry! Cut your sweetening amounts in half and you will have some excellent ciders! This one, at this level of sweetening, is just not my cup of tea I am afraid.

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