Review of Bourbon Barrel (2012 Vintage) from Traditions Ciderworks (a 2 Towns brand, which they have now absorbed into their regular line). I bought a bottle of this after loving it at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 (tasting notes here). I’ve tried a number of ciders from Traditions Ciderworks (see here) and 2 Towns (see here).
Cider: Bourbon Barrel, 2012 Vintage
Cidery: Traditions Ciderworks (2 Towns)
Cidery Location: Corvallis OR
How Supplied: 750ml champagne bottles, corked & caged
Style: American Bourbon barrel aged cider made from French & English cider apple varieties
Availability: Very limited, plus I think it was released a couple years ago. In general however, ciders from 2 Towns are available in OR, WA, AK, HI, CA, ID, NV, MN, and Chicago IL.
Cider Description: Aged for four months in wheat and rye whiskey bourbon barrels, our Bourbon Barrel Cider is a hedonistic blend of floral, fruit, and sweet-bourbon aromas. Traditional French and English cider apples lend firm tannins and a dry, tart backing to this cider. Sweet wood and caramel notes finish off a cider made for bourbon lovers. 132 cases produced.
It was made with Dabinett & Kingston Black cider apples and aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. The only ingredients are “fresh local cider apples”, wine yeast, and sulfites. They also had a 2011 vintage of Bourbon Barrel, with 50 cases produced.
Cidery Description: Traditions Ciderworks produces handmade artisan ciders using only locally sourced Oregon farm grown apples. Inspired by the creativity and flair of Pacific Northwest craft brewers and winemakers, we use time-honored traditions & our own unique style to create exceptional, premium ciders. From the heart of Oregon, near the banks of the Willamette River, Traditions Ciderworks is dedicated to bringing artisan cider out of the past and into the present.
2 Towns has a tasting room in Corvallis Oregon. In late 2015 they absorbed their Traditions Ciderworks line, and have started producing those ciders under the 2 Towns label (starting with their Pommeau, then Riverwood Brut).
Where Bought: Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank: home
How Found: This was my favorite cider I tried at Cider Summit Seattle 2015. They didn’t have any in the on-site bottle shop, so I asked around, and Erika at Full Throttle Bottles was able to find a bottle for me.
First Impression: Light straw yellow hue with a slight haziness. Very low carbonation upon pouring. Smells of bourbon, oak, crisp apples, honey, and yeast.
Tasting Notes: Dry. Nearly still. Light bodied. Moderate bitterness and acidity. Mild tartness and tannins. Notes of bourbon, oak, honey, yeast, citrus, floral, and smoke. Moderate length slightly warming finish. Mild apple influence. Low sessionability. Moderate barrel influence. Strong spirit influence.
My Opinion: For whatever reason I enjoyed this much more when I tried it at Cider Summit. This time the bitterness was much stronger and it wasn’t quite as tannic or rich. The lovely strong bourbon flavor was still there however. I can’t figure out why it seems more bitter…it was the same vintage (presumably the same batch), it was one of the first ciders I tried at Cider Summit so I shouldn’t have had palate fatigue, my palate has only learned to tolerate bitterness better since then, and this cider should age well.
Most Similar to: Other ciders with a strong bourbon barrel influence include Locust Bourbon Barrel (although much higher ABV), Whitewood Whiskey Barrel Aged Kingston Black (although richer), and Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Apples (although much higher ABV). I also tried the last two ciders at Cider Summit Seattle 2015.
Closing Notes: After saving this bottle for months it was a bit disappointing for it to not taste as I remembered, but still plenty enjoyable. I look forward to see what they come up with next at 2 Towns.
Have you tried Traditions Ciderworks Bourbon Barrel? What did you think?