Review of AHHH!!! Apricot Honey Habanero from Carlton Cyderworks in McMinnville Oregon. I’ve tried a few of their other ciders–Black Currant Scrumpy, Sugar and Spice, Slake, and First Fruits.
Cider: AHHH!!! Apricot Honey Habanero
Cidery: Carlton Cyderworks
Cidery Location: McMinnville Oregon
How Supplied: 22oz bottles (and kegs)
Style: American craft cider from dessert apples infused with apricot, honey, and habanero peppers
Availability: Oregon and Washington
Cider Description: The award winning AHH!!! starts with tangy Oregon grown apricots and fresh NW apple juice. Whole habanero peppers are added to the ferment, and when it is ready to bottle, we sweeten with honey from the Willamette Valley. Take one sip and you’ll know why we call this cyder “AHH!!!”.
Cidery Description: Family-owned Micro Cidery. We make some traditional cider. We make some modern cider. It’s all good stuff.
Where Bought: Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank: home
How Found: I saw this was available in the Seattle area on Full Throttle Bottles’ Facebook feed, and decided to give it a try, despite usually not liking spicy ciders, as it sounded really interesting.
First Impression: Hazy straw yellow lemonade hue. Low carbonation with some foam upon pouring. Smells sour, of citrus, honey, and stone fruit.
Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Light bodied. Low sourness. Moderate tartness and acidity. No bitterness, tannins, or funk. Notes of honey, then stone fruit / apricots, green apple, citrus, and yeast, and finishing with a bit of habanero flavor & heat. The spiciness started rather mild and enjoyable, but the second half of the bottle was more in-line with what I’ve tasted with other spicy ciders, and too much for me and my friend I shared it with. Medium to long finish length. Low to moderate apple influence. Moderate sessionability.
My Opinion: I wasn’t a fan. I was pleased with the low level of spice (more flavor than heat) at first, but it became disappointing. I imagine lightly shaking the bottle before pouring would have more evenly distributed the spice. Also, I think a bit more sweetness and less sourness would have been nice.
Most Similar to: Other spicy ciders such as Sonoma Crowbar, Finnriver Habanero, and Schilling Siracha Lime. My favorite spicy cider remains Elemental Hard Cider’s Margarita (Jalapeno Lime Cilantro), which has only the flavor but not spice from the jalapeno. I’ve had plenty of other light semi-dry ciders with honey, stone fruit, citrus, and green apple notes though.
Closing Notes: I’m glad I tried this one, but its not something I enjoyed. My favorites from Carlton so far are Sugar and Spice and First Fruits.
Have you tried Carlton AHH!!!? What did you think?