Review of Aspall’s Imperial English Cider. This time I tried the blue labeled version of their Imperial cider, having previously tried the black labeled version. I’ve also tried a number of their other varieties.
Cider: Imperial English Cider
Cidery Location: Suffolk England
How Supplied: 500ml bottles
Style: English Imperial
Availability: Semi wide release.
Cider Description: We called this cyder Imperial in honour of our great grandfather JB Chevallier’s success at the Imperial Fruit Show in 1921. Every year we craft a special vintage. This is our 285th….Rich fudgy, tantalising flavour enhanced by bitter-sweet apples from a single year’s crop. Notes of raisins, dates and prunes. Sweet mellow finish.
Sweet (35%): Orange Cox Pippin, Royal Gala
Sharp (35%): Bramley Seedling, Howgate Wonder
Bittersweet (30%): Tremlett’s Bitter, Yarlington Mill, Medaille d’Or, Kingston
Cidery Description: Our family cyder-making business was established in 1728 by Clement Chevallier. He planted the orchards at Aspall Hall in Suffolk. The Chevallier family still live and work among Clement’s orchards and today Aspall is run by the eighth generation of the family….Aspall has been home to our family for nine generations. A tiny hamlet north of the small market town of Debenham in mid-Suffolk. It’s a rural and agricultural area characterised by the young river Deben flowing through our orchards.
Where Bought: Schilling Cider House
Where Drank: home
How Found: Browsing. I’ve been curious for awhile if this was the same or different from the black labeled version of Imperial, and now I have my answer.
First Impression: Light copper orange amber hue. Low carbonation. Smells of rich sweet bittersweet apples, caramel, butterscotch, and melted butter.
Tasting Notes: Semi-sweet to semi-dry. Medium bodied. Mild tannins, tartness, acidity, and bitterness. No sourness or funk. Notes of bittersweet apples, caramel, butterscotch, orange, apple pomace, and yeast. Moderate length warming finish with more alcohol burn than expected. Strong apple flavor. Low sessionability.
My Opinion: Although I enjoyed this cider, I think it doesn’t even compare to their black label Imperial, which is one of my all time favorite ciders (and I believe an excellent value).
Most Similar to: Other English ciders, such as Aspall, Worley’s, and Sheppy’s, English-style ciders such as from Liberty Ciderworks (English Style and its barrel aged cousin, Stonewall) & Montana Ciderworks (Darby Pub), and ciders with significant bitterness / harshness. The yeast-forward flavor actually reminds me of many French ciders.
Closing Notes: I hope I can find the black label version of this cider again….so far my best guess is that this blue label version replaced it, as I haven’t seen it for awhile. That would be unfortunate.
Have you tried Aspall cider? What did you think?