Eden Northern Spy Barrel Aged Ice Cider

Review of Eden Ice Cider’s Northern Spy single varietal ice cider, barrel aged 12 months in French oak barrels, made in Newport VT.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden Ice Cider.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Northern Spy
Cidery:  Eden Ice Cider
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  10.0%
Residual Sugar: 15%
How Supplied:  187ml & 375ml tall skinny glass bottles
Style:  American Northern Spy single varietal barrel aged ice cider

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Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia, also this one has less distribution than their Heirloom Blend.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  This Vermont Ice Cider is made from 100% Northern Spy apples, and aged in French oak barrels for a year. Northern Spy is an antique variety of apple that was one of the three most popular in America at the end of the 19th century. It has a sweetly tart flavor that is superbly enhanced by the oak. Spicy, with honey caramel under-tones, it is a wonderful after-dinner drink.  No added sugar, coloring or flavoring of any kind Concentration using natural Northern Vermont winter cold.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  n/a (retails for $20+ for 187ml and $30+ for 375ml)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this cider online.  I really enjoyed Eden’s Heirloom Blend ice cider I tried at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 and their Sparkling Dry and Sparkling Semi-Dry ciders, and since I love barrel aged ciders, I’ve had my eye on this barrel aged ice cider for awhile.  Its not sold in the Seattle area, so I was thrilled to get a box of three sample bottles from Eleanor.

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First Impression:  Still.  Deep caramel color.  Smells of rich ripe baked apples, residual sugar, higher ABV, brown sugar, burnt caramel, honey, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet to very sweet.  Low acidity, tartness, and tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Full bodied (a good kind of syrupy).  Concentrated intense full flavor notes of rich ripe baked apples, brown sugar, burnt caramel, honey, oak, vanilla, and a hint of spice.  Long warming finish.  High apple influence.  Mild to moderate barrel influence.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Amazing!  I enjoyed the barrel aged flavor of this ice cider.  Due to the sweetness this is definitely a beverage to sip only a small quantity after dinner, but that means even a small bottle lasts awhile.  It also kept very well in the fridge, without any noticeable flavor change during the week I had it open (I used an expanding stopper).

Most Similar to:  High quality ice ciders, which truthfully I haven’t tried too many of (as there aren’t many).  Compared to Eden’s Heirloom Blend, I found Northern Spy to be slightly less sweet and even more complex (such as the oak & vanilla notes from barrel aging).  Its my new favorite from them.

Closing Notes:   This was another impressive cider from Eden Ice Cider.  I’m really looking forward to trying the third sample bottle, a Honeycrisp ice cider.  Even after that I have a number of varieties from them left to try in the future, such as their Windfall Orchard and Brandy Barrel aged Heirloom Blend ice ciders, and their aperitif ciders.  If anyone wants to know what I want for my birthday or Christmas, its definitely a subscription to their cider club, which sounds amazing with member-only releases, but is admittedly a bit spendy (but great for folks who would buy a lot of their ciders anyways as you get a 20% discount).

Have you tried Eden Ice Ciders?  What did you think?

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