Portland Cider Blueberry Bourbon Basil

Review of Portland Cider’s Blueberry Bourbon Basil, a bourbon barrel aged blueberry-basil cider. It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their lineup (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  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:  Blueberry Bourbon Basil
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Cider
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  19.2oz single cans and 6 packs of 12oz cans
Style: American craft cider from dessert apples with blueberries and basil, aged in bourbon barrels

Availability:  limited release, on Dec 15 2020 for cans and Jan 2021 for kegs/draft (check out their cider finder), in Oregon (including Portland Cider’s 2 taprooms), Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California

Cider Description:  Our collaboration with Blue Star Donuts, the iconic Portland-based donut shop known for their brioche donuts. This cider is exactly what it says – Blueberry, basil, and deep rich bourbon notes from oak aging. It’s delicious mouthful! Tasting notes: Oak, Vanilla, Blueberry Pie, Sweet Basil. Food pairings: Blue Star Donuts, Gouda Cheese, Cured Meats, Chocolate, Toasted hazelnuts.

Cidery Description:  Portland Cider Company is an award-winning premium cider producer that owes its success to the perfect marriage of the cider-making traditions of Somerset, England, with the eclectic and oddly unique spirit of cider-passionate Portland, Oregon.  We are committed to using 100% Northwest apples without additives, colors, or added sugar. This commitment gives our fans, like you, the confidence that you can enjoy the cleanest, crispest, and tastiest cider Portland has to offer.

Price:  ~$4-5 per single 19.2oz can or ~$11-12 per 6 pack of 12oz cans
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

First Impression:  Medium red-purple hue. Very low carbonation. Smells mild, of tart berry.

Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Light bodied. Moderate to high tartness. Moderate acidity. No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk. Notes of berry and green apple with hints of herbs and smooth oak (I couldn’t specifically identify basil and bourbon barrel aging). Moderate length tart finish. Low apple flavor. Moderate overall flavor intensity. Low to moderate complexity. High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it, especially due to its unique flavor, which added some complexity to an otherwise relatively common blueberry cider.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve had, as although I’ve tried at least 10 blueberry ciders, I only know of sampling 1 other cider with basil, One Tree’s Lemon Basil.

Closing Notes:  It would be interesting to try this with more basil and longer barrel aging, to make those flavors more prominent, although I imagine they wanted to ensure they weren’t overdone.

Have you tried Portland Cider’s Blueberry Bourbon Basil?  What did you think?

2 thoughts on “Portland Cider Blueberry Bourbon Basil

  1. I’d like to try this if I can find a single can. Should be easy, as Portland Cider has a taproom a mile from my house.

    My local grocer and beer distributor stock too many novelty (flavored) ciders. The only one I’ve liked so far was Incline’s lemongrass, a great combination of flavors. Just as a espresso can work in stout, lemongrass works with the cider flavor, not against it.

    My impression is, many (not all!) cider producers are targeting the flavored-seltzer crowd, rather than the wine, beer, or cider connoisseur. I think that’s a shame. There is a ton of opportunity to make great cider that doesn’t try to be anything else. I think we need to see more of them, readily available. What do you think?


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