Oliver’s Traditional Cider is basically still, sour, bitter and something I’ve wanted to write about since I started this blog. Let’s hope it’s been worth the wait.
If you read enough about cider and cider making particularly from the UK you will eventually come across the name Tom Oliver. The guy is a bit of a legend when is come to promoting real cider around the UK and increasingly worldwide. If you’re reading this you should be following him on twitter.
Olivers’ farm, like most farms in Herefordshire made cider a couple of generations ago. The cider formed part of the farm hands salary but as the farms became mechanised the staff numbers dropped and some wowser suggested one should not have a pint at lunch time and then operate heavy machinery (they may have a point). Unfortunately there was no longer any need to make cider on the farm so much of the gear was discarded. Oliver was left to build up his cidery from square one. Oliver makes a large range of ciders. All the batches are made from traditional apple varieties. The batches are blended as needed to create the different style and flavours.
The Traditional Cider is fermented with wild yeast. This is done slowly at cold temperatures. This helps preserve delicate flavours. The fermentation is all in oak barrels giving another level of complexity.
All the ciders I’ve reviewed up until now have been carbonated. As the bubbles burst they whip up the scent of the cider. Oliver Traditional Cider is still, not a bubble in sight. So the smell is much more subtle. What is present is a bitter-sweet smell of a traditional Herefordshire cider.
The notion of a still cider to me is somewhat confronting. Being so unexpected I kept thinking that the bottle had gone flat or wasn’t sealed properly. Up front there is a moment where you think there isn’t much flavour at all, but it’s there alright. Lurking like a tiger in the bushes waiting to smack you about the face. The flavour here is so sour. As you sip you can feel the tannins sucking any moisture out of your tongue. This is very intense. I can’t compare this to anything from Australia or anything else that I remember trying.
Final Thoughts on Oliver’s Traditional Cider
About 3/4 of the way though the pint it begins to make sense to me. I’m starting to enjoy this Traditional Cider. Calling it a traditional cider helps you understand what’s going on. As this was the type of drink that was made on the farms it was a “set and forget” cider. The farmer would put the apple juice into the barrels and let the cider take care of itself. The barrels didn’t hold pressure so the gas was never dissolved into the cider. The Bitter apples were used as they were less prone to infection. There is a lot of history in this pint.
I write this blog as a hobby, I’m no expert. Ciders like Oliver’s Traditional Cider just prove to me how much more there is to learn about ciders. Therefore I’m going to recommend this to anybody who wants their eyes opened to face slappingly flavorful ciders.
|Product||Oliver’s Traditional Cider|
|Country of Origin||England|
|Region||Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire|
March 8, 2016
I’m a big fan of Oliver’s, and yes, this being a ‘proper’ uncarbonated cider is one of the few I’ll buy in bottles. It beggars belief that some people think cider should have bubbles in it! 😉
April 24, 2016
I just tried Oliver’s tonight and it was not sour at all — in fact is was horrid. I think perhaps the bottle went bad. It tasted rancid and had a distinct tanin of band aids (yes, that old-school smell of band aids) and left my mouth numb. Please tell me I got a bad bottle and this brand deserves another chance. Cheers!
April 27, 2016
I have noticed that antiseptic (band aid) taste in some ciders. I can’t say i noticed it with this one. It is meant to have lots of tannins that make your mouth feel dry. From my tastings Olivers traditional is a traditional cider, which can be an acquired taste. Try one of his sweeter ciders or maybe a perry.