Sometime I see a cider I have never seen before and I’ll just give it a go. That’s what’s happen here. I saw Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider. Produced from organically grown apples in the United Kingdom.
I chose to write about Samuel Smith’s because of the label. It’s a near perfect example of what Australia should be shooting for with its labelling laws. Smith’s list Tadcaster, UK as where it was made and bottled. Further down the label is a list of everything that goes into the bottle: Water, Organic Concentrated apple juice, Organic Sugar cane juice and the list goes on. The only thing that’s missing is the country of origin of these ingredients. Elsewhere on the label it touts its organic approved seal and that it’s vegan friendly.
The real shame here is that Samuel Smith’s Brewery is in Yorkshire. Yorkshire is home to some unique cider apples. Why not use them in their fresh, non concentrated form?
Let’s give Samuel Smith’s the benefit of the doubt and say they make their own concentrate from local apples in order to gain Organic seal. But what is the advantage of making ciders from concentrate? Is it so they can ensure year round production? Aussie producers use cold storage to get round this problem. I know Sea Cider from Sussex are able to cold store apples so it’s not impossible to keep British cider apples this way. But honestly I can’t see how making your own concentrate can be a cost-effective choice.
Somewhere between that tradition British cider still and the sharp and bright ciders we typically use in Aussie ciders.
This Organic Cider is medium sweet. Soft is best way to describe this. Just a little of that bite reminiscent of a Kingston Black. The flavours are exaggerated by a sugar that clearly hasn’t come from an apple. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough acids to balance the sugars. The result is sticky aftertaste.
You know when you are driving along listening to the radio. As you begin to lose the signal, you turn up the volume so that you can make out what the DJ is saying. You think it makes it more audible but in reality the DJ is louder but so is the static. The same is true for this cider. The cane sugar and water is the static and the concentrate is the DJ. Just because you have plenty of flavour in the concentrate doesn’t mean it you can taste all the detail of the original juice it over all that sugar and water. And its a real shame to lose that detail because I was looking forward to seeing what Yorkshire’s apples had to offer.
Final Thoughts on Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider
Samuel Smith’s isn’t offensive just lacklustre. I wanted more providence of Yorkshire, show off the local produce of your proud county. The organic factor bugs me. Full credit for sourcing organic ingredients, but why make an organic cider if your going to make it from concentrate. As a bottle of cider, you could do a lot worse but it is far from the top of the pack. But to reach the top you simple can’t have water as the primary ingredient.
This is the best incarnation of a concentrated cider I’ve tasted in a while, but it’s also lacking the big flavours that come from organic 100% juice ciders.
I have to thank Samuel Smith’s for leading the way putting forward so much information on the label. It goes allow way to educating consumers about what they are drinking.
|Country of Origin||United Kingdom|
August 4, 2015
Great review–thanks for sharing! I agree that this was a lackluster cider. I found it interesting there was a sweet apple scent, but to me, it tasted only on the sweeter side of semi-dry (despite the use of concentrate). It was unfortunately an unremarkable cider for me, especially for the cost (~$11 for four 12oz bottles in Seattle WA area). I tend to like bold ciders though.
March 8, 2016
Sam should stick to brewing beer IMO (as that’s what they are – a brewer).
About as bad as Strongbow, this one.