Alpenfire Smoke

Review of Alpenfire’s Smoke Pommeau (cider + apple brandy), their barrel aged dessert cider.  I’ve had a previous version of this (see here), plus I’ve tried most of their lineup (see here).  I missed out on the only release that I knew of in between the previous one I tried years ago and this one, so I was excited to buy some.

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Cider:  Smoke, 2017 Harvest
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft apple brandy-fortified barrel-aged cider from Estate-grown bittersweet cider apple varieties

Photo Apr 25, 5 54 44 PM Photo Apr 25, 5 55 03 PM

Availability:  very limited, likely mostly online, plus some specialty shops in WA

Cider Description:  A barrel aged desert cider blended for those who love a rich full bodied cider and a touch of peaty smoke in their whiskey. This after dinner tipple sits as the 2nd best cider in the world on RateBeer’s best of list….Harvested in 2017 and fermented dry, referemented and aged in a rye whiskey barrel, then matured in a peated whiskey barrel, then blended with cider aged over oak chips before estate Bittersweet apple brandy is added in to bring it up to 18%.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown heritage ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers.  Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us.  Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you!  Try Alpenfire Cider today and find your favorite expression of the Northwest.

Price:  $24.99
Where Bought:  their online shop
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  originally, browsing a shop

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of rich bittersweet apple, brandy / high ABV, aged spirits (esp. scotch), and oak barrel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium body.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apples, oak, smoke, scotch/whiskey, and a hint of peat.  Long warm finish.  Moderate to high complexity and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I have to say that it didn’t live up to the previous version I tried, which was truly epic and one of the best things I’ve ever drank.  I imagine the years I waited to buy more of this served to further elevate my opinion on the previous version.  Never the less, as a stand-alone product, this Pommeau is superb, and I’ll happily drink the 3 bottles I bought.

Most Similar to:  a slightly lighter (less rich) and less sweet version of their previous Smoke, or a typical Pommeau with added barrel/smoke flavor

Closing Notes:  Alpenfire is a favorite of mine, and a highlight is their vast lineup, with offerings from dry to semi-sweet, fruity to rich, sessionable to not, and everything in between, all of which are exceptional.

Have you tried Alpenfire Smoke?  What did you think?