Vermont Cider Co. Ingrained

Review of Vermont Cider Co,’s Ingrained, a limited release rye whiskey barrel aged cider.  It is my first time trying this one, but I have had their Addison (flagship), Wassail, and Cerise.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by the Vermont Cider Co.  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:  Ingrained
Cidery:  Vermont Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four packs of 12oz bottles (thick champagne glass, but capped), and 5.2 gallon kegs
Style:  American commercial cider from fresh-pressed local dessert apples from Cornwall VT, aged 9 months in WhistlePig rye whiskey oak barrels

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Availability:  limited release (October 2017), part of their rotating line of barrel aged ciders, only sold in the Northeast United States

Cider Description:  Ingrained uses 100% local apples from Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall, VT.  After fermentation, this cider was aged for nine months in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey barrels from Shoreham, VT for an incomparable taste experience.  Ingrained has balanced botes of American oak & rye whiskey over a crisp New England apple backdrop.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the circus of ciders, Gumption®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $10.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells very mild, with a hint of honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of honey, vanilla, green apple, and lemon.  Long warming finish, which is the only time that I pick up the spirit and barrel influence.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  Low spirit and barrel influence.

My Opinion:  I really liked it, but I had been hoping for (but not expecting) a more intense whiskey and oak flavor.  However, as the intensity of the barrel aging is mild (likely as it was only partially barrel aged or aged in large barrels, as 9 months is a decent amount of time), and it is a sweeter cider, this would be a great introductory barrel aged cider.  ie. a cider to have someone try that is newer to cider and interested in barrel aged ciders, but doesn’t have much experience with them.

Most Similar to:  Thistly Cross Whisky Cask (actually, this is very similar).  I’m shocked I don’t have a review of this Thistly Cross cider at Cider Says, but here is the cidery’s info page on it.  However, I can say that Thistly Cross Whisky Cask was what got me interested in barrel aged ciders, and a few years ago it was one of my favorite ciders.  Tastes evolve though.

Closing Notes:  This was another nice selection from the Vermont Cider Co., and is a big step up from Woodchuck without too much of a price increase.  However, their production & distribution is still rather small, so unfortunately not many folks will get to try it.  Its pretty cool they used barrels from WhistlePig, which my husband tells me is a high end rye whiskey (plus its a Vermont distillery, keeping the entire cider very local as they also used local apples).

Have you tried any whiskey barrel aged ciders?  What did you think?

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