Sea Cider Prohibition / Rumrunner

Review of Sea Cider Prohibition (sold as Rumrunner in Canada).  This is my second time trying this cider.  I’ve tried a couple other Sea Cider varieties as well.  Prohibition is aged in rum barrels!

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Cider:  Prohibition
Cidery: Sea Cider
Cidery Location:  Vancouver Island near Victoria B.C.
ABV:  12.5%
How Supplied: 750ml clear glass bottle (although I bought it by the glass)
Availability:  Canada (B.C., Alberta, & Manitoba) and the U.S. (WA, IL, & OR)

Cider Description:  Crafted with home-grown heritage apples, Rumrunner’s apples are hand-pressed using our traditional rack and cloth press, slowly fermented with Champagne yeast, then aged in rum-soaked bourbon barrels for a minimum of six months. Aromas of brown sugar and rum show the complexity of this semi-dry sparkling cider. The secret to Rumrunner lies in the barrel. Rich, full-bodied and intriguing, Newfoundland Screech barrels were the inspiration for this semi-dry cider, which opens up to reveal complex notes of molasses, apples, and rum.

Rumrunner cider is our homage to the people who, during Prohibition, ran illicit boats full of liquor across the international line in the coastal waters that can be seen from our Ciderhouse. This seafaring connection was first formed when we obtained Newfoundland “Screech” barrels to age one of our cider blends. Rum and bourbon barrels were once a cidermaker’s only storage option and their use imparted distinctly spirited notes to traditional cider. Our Rumrunner cider blends the juice of highly aromatic apples, such as Stayman’s Winesaps and Winter Bananas (all certified organic), so that the apple aromas match the intensity of the oak and rum notes.

Cidery Description:  Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Our ten acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples.  Sea Cider opened its farm gate for business in 2007 when owner Kristen Jordan purchased the property with a vision of creating an organic farm and orchard and producing traditional fermented artisan ciders. Since then, we’ve grown to an annual cider production of over 7,000 cases and growing. We continue to pride ourselves on crafting traditionally fermented ciders from organically grown apples.

Price:  ~$20 / bottle, but I paid $8 for an approximately 8oz pour
Where Drank:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA, which is an awesome bottle shop & bar combo, with about 15 taps, where usually 1 or 2 are cider.  They also sell Sea Cider Prohibition & Pippins by the glass, or will open up a bottle for you for $2.  Its a great hangout spot and pretty chill.

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First Impression: Deep copper amber.  Still.  Smells inviting, rich, earthy, and likely to pack a punch.

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Opinion:  I pick up so many different flavors with this one.  Very bold / aggressive / intense and complex.  Caramel, brown sugar, rum, brandy?, vanilla, molasses, the list goes on.  I find it interesting how most of these are “sweet” flavors, yet I’d call this a semi-dry cider.  This cider isn’t very apple-forward, but then again, good craft cider doesn’t / shouldn’t taste like apple juice.  It has a woody earthy flavor and a bit of a bite.  Long smooth dry slightly acidic finish.  Prohibition packs a lot of heat/warmth.  Like Liberty Ciderworks Manchuran Crabapple and other high ABV ciders, the word boozy comes to mind, but for me, in a good way.  I like the different flavor of the rum barrel aging as opposed to the more common oak / bourbon (or red wine or tequila as I’ve also had).

As it warms up I liked the flavor a bit more, but it also seemed to linger more on the palate.  The mouthfeel was thick.  I was glad this wasn’t served ice cold.  I enjoyed an interesting pairing this this cider, as I munched on some pub mix (cheesy pretzels & crackers).  I imagine this would be good with some cheese or even as a cider float.  Sea Cider also says it can be served warmed, which would be interesting.  its odd how I don’t like aged spirits but enjoy ciders like this.

Closing Notes:  Tasty!  However, this is something that I enjoyed more with the first half of the glass, as it is a bit hefty to enjoy more than a small pour of.  So, I was thankful to have it by the glass instead of a 750ml bottle (although apparently it keeps well).

Have you tried Sea Cider Prohibition / Rumrunner?  What did you think?

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