A cider with an odd name is always going to grab my attention. So when I was I given the chance to try a bottle of Henry of Harcourt’s Duck and Bull, I was paying attention.
Like me, I bet you’re wondering what do a duck and bull have to do with a cider. The story goes that in the Henry of Harcourt orchards, Drew Henry had a few animals. He had a feisty mother duck called Nicole. I’m sure we all know a feisty duck named Nicole. Who had the few run-ins with the prize Welsh Black bull named Zenith. After a few stoushes, the pair sorted out their differences and became mates.This is a bit of a metaphor for what’s put into the cider. The Duck and Bull cider is a meeting of a collection of “Real Cider Apples” and the less traditional Pink Lady apples.
When I started to write this review I posted an image of my drink on Instagram. I had a reply from Tim Jones “Raise a pint to Drew Henry! Legendary cider maker and true pioneer of Australian cider.”
The fact that the head cider maker from one of Australia’s leading cider houses giving compliments like that is a testament to how well respected Drew Henry is within the industry and you don’t earn respect like that by making dodgy cider.
Bitterness and earthiness fight for the high ground of your nasal cavities. There is a rich traditional cider apple scent that dominates everything. It is incredibly inviting, I just want to stick my nose deeper and deeper into the cider, the problem is I don’t think I can breathe under cider. It’s a heady mix of alcohol and good old British apples.
My first impression is of a chalkiness and minerality of the Harcourt region. To me, this is probably one of Australia’s most well-defined terroirs. The Duck and Bull has just enough bitterness to make it a bit of a palette cleanser. Not too much to discourage the next sip. At 8.2%, the alcohol is noticeable in this hazy cider. The Pink Lady apple wake up the cider and make it a bit more feisty like the duck. While the base of English cider apples is as strong and sturdy as a fine Welsh Bull. It’s a bottle conditioned cider with a little sediment in the bottle, the label said not to disturb it. Keeping it out of the glass makes for a fresher brighter cider.
Final Thoughts on the Duck And Bull
The thing that I find amazing about Henry of Harcourt’s ciders is that the top flight restaurants aren’t knocking down Henry’s cellar door to get their hands on the Duck and Bull. This is a real top shelf cider, with a bit of odd name.
Vale Drew Henry
Shortly after publishing this review I was saddened to hear about the passing of Drew Henry following an accident in his orchard. Drew was always happy to talk about cider to anyone who asked. He was very generous to me with his time and knowledge. My thoughts are with his family and friends, this loss will be felt across the industry.
|Product||Duck and Bull|
|Company||Henry Of Harcourt|
|Country of Origin||Australia|