Schilling Oak Aged

Review of Schilling Oak Aged.  This is my favorite Schilling Cider out of the seven I’ve tried.  Interestingly enough this cider is not oak barrel aged, but instead uses American oak chips in the fermentation and racking process to impart the oak flavor.  I’ve seen this done with other alcoholic beverages (such as whiskey) to be able to more quickly release a product, as barrel aging can be time consuming.  Chips can also cost significantly less.  Some traditionalists may call this “cheating” though.  Here is a cool barrels vs. chips blog post from ALEHEADS from the beer world.

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(and yes of course the can I chose to drink/photograph out of the four has the dent…)

Cider:  Oak Aged
Cidery: Schilling Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA (with Cider House in Fremont area of Seattle WA, and a brand new tasting room which opened July 31 2015 at the cidery in Auburn WA)
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied: 12oz can
Availability:  Year round, semi-wide release (probably more so in the PNW)

Cider Description:  Pours a hazy straw gold color with aromas of apples, cinnamon, vanilla, and oak with some smokiness. Flavors of apple, cinnamon, vanilla and oak with a nice spice finish. Fermented and finished on 100% NW oak this cider has a scotch taste complemented by a very smooth and lingering finish.

Cidery Description:  Craft cider company founded in 2012 in Seattle WA.  They use only local apples.  Their current line up includes Hopped, Ginger, & Oak Aged in four packs of 12oz cans, Gold & Dry in four packs of 16 oz cans, and Spiced, Chai, Chaider, & Grapefruit special releases in 22oz bottles (Grapefruit is also now in four packs of 16 oz cans).  Their Cider House also has a large number of cider offerings only available there, such as Berry & Sriracha Lime.  Note that they cite product protection, convenience, and environmental reasons for using cans for their regular lineup.

Price:  $6.50 / 4 cans
Where Bought: Total Wine (I’ve also seen it at Fred Meyer, Whole Foods, Full Throttle Bottles, Special Brews, Schilling Cider House, etc)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing awhile back.  I’ve had this cider a few times.

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First Impression: Pale champagne hue.  Very light carbonation.  Mild apple, oak, smoke, & vanilla scents.

Opinion:  Semi dry.  This is a nice mild oaked cider.  I can’t really tell that it is with wood chips and not barrel aged, but I don’t have too refined of a palate.  Oddly enough I pick up very little spice in this (which is good as its not something I enjoy), in contrast to most folks who notice cinnamon & cloves.  I do however pick up the vanilla and some mild smokiness.  Like most ciders, it starts sweeter and finishes a bit drier.  It is a quick finishing cider, and I pick up a bit of acidity at the end.  The flavor really reminds me of champagne / sparkling cider, but less bubbly of course.  I think more carbonation and oakiness would be nice in this cider, as its on the mellow side.  However, it makes for easy drinking.

Most Similar to: Finnriver Oak & Apple, which I tried at the Schilling Cider House after being surprised they didn’t have their own Shilling Oak Aged on tap.  I give a slight edge to Finnriver over Schilling after tasting Schilling again (in my Schilling Cider House tasting notes I had thought the opposite).  There is however quite a cost difference between the two cider brands, with the Finnriver typically costing much more (although it appears Finnriver Oak & Apple isn’t currently available in bottles?).  Interestingly enough the Finnriver Oak & Apple is barrel aged.  I can’t however pinpoint why I have this preference without tasting them side by side.

Interesting Fact:  Founder Colin Schilling is the great-great grandson of August Schilling, founder of Schilling Spice Company (now McCormick).  (Source)

Closing Notes:  This is a solid and enjoyable cider.  The affordability is a nice bonus.

Have you tried Schilling Oak Aged?  What did you think?

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