Review of Dragon’s Head Kingston Black cider, a single varietal from Vashon Island Washington. I’ve previously tried their Wild Fermented and Traditional ciders.
Cider: Kingston Black
Cidery: Dragon’s Head
Cidery Location: Vashon WA
How Supplied: 750ml bottles
Style: Kingston Black single varietal craft cider
Availability: Limited release (I bought this a few months back so I assume they are sold out by now). Dragons’ Head ciders are only sold in OR and WA.
Cider Description: Kingston Black apples are known for being the ultimate cider apple, producing a well balanced, full bodied cider with a distinctive rich flavor. This cider is made from 100% Kingston Black apples.
Cidery Description: At Dragon’s Head Cider, we believe in producing high quality hard ciders with a traditional approach, which means you will never find us using apple juice concentrate, over sweetening our ciders, or adding other flavors to our ciders. We love the story that apples and pears can tell all by themselves. And so we keep it simple. Press high quality apples and pears, ferment the juice, put it in a bottle. We believe one of the keys to creating great cider is to have control over the entire process. For this reason, we do the pressing, fermentation, blending and bottling all right here on the farm.
Wes and Laura Cherry moved to Vashon Island in 2010 with the dream of planting an orchard and starting a cidery. Dragon’s Head Farm, named for the dragon who guards the apples of immortality in the Garden of Hesperides, is now home to over 2,200 cider fruit trees as well as our production facility.
They have a tasting room on Vashon Island open Saturdays and Sundays.
Where Bought: Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank: home
How Found: The cider house posted about it on Facebook, and I was glad it was still in stock when I made it there. Didn’t see any more next time I was there.
First Impression: Medium straw yellow. Very low carbonation, a mix of tiny and large bubbles. Some small bits of sediment. Smells rich, slightly sweet, boozy, of caramel, oak, & vanilla, and acidity & tartness.
Tasting Notes: Dry. Moderate tannins, tartness, and acidity. A hint of bitterness. No sour or funk. Medium bodied. Not as rich as the scent suggested, but had a smooth almost buttery texture with light carbonation. Notes of oak (although it doesn’t appear to be barrel aged), vanilla, and caramel. Long warming finish. Low to moderate apple flavor. Low sessionability.
My Opinion: I enjoyed this cider, but I think I had too high of expectations due to it being a Kingston Black single varietal, and was slightly disappointed. I think with less tartness the other flavors could have better shined through and made it more to my liking. Barrel aging this cider would also have been amazing.
Most Similar to: Other dry and tart ciders with slightly rich flavors, although I can’t think of any in particular that are similar to this one.
Closing Notes: Kingston Black ciders don’t disappoint, but I enjoyed Whitewood’s Whisky Barrel Aged Kingston Black cider more than this one. Too bad in the U.S. they are all really limited release (due to the lack of cider apples), as I couldn’t buy a bottle of either of them if I tried. Farnum Hill also just released a Kingston Black cider, although it won’t make it out here to Seattle.
Have you tried any Kingston Black single varietal ciders? What did you think?