Carlton Cyderworks AHH!!! Apricot Honey Habanero

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.

2016-04-08 18.56.03.jpg

Cider:  AHHH!!! Apricot Honey Habanero
Cidery:  Carlton Cyderworks
Cidery Location:  McMinnville Oregon
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples infused with apricot, honey, and habanero peppers

2016-04-08 18.56.19 2016-04-08 18.56.28

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. 

Price:  $7.50
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.

2016-04-08 18.57.49.jpg

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?

Atlas Cider Company Hard Apricot Cider

Review of the Hard Apricot variety from Atlas Cider Company.  I’ve now tried all four of their varieties which are available by the bottle, Apple, Blackberry, Pom-Cherry, and Apricot.

2015-10-31 16.33.11

Cider:  Hard Apricot Cider
Cidery:  Atlas Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Bend OR
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  22oz clear glass bottle

2015-10-31 16.33.20 2015-10-31 16.33.28 2015-10-31 16.33.36 2015-10-31 16.34.28 HDR

Availability:  Year-round in OR, WA, & ID.

Cider Description:  Pressed golden orange apricots dominate this uniquely tart cider. The Apricots add a subtle flavor that is like combining a peach and a plum but not quite as sweet. The Romans and Greeks had it right when they used apricots as a main ingredient of their drink known as the “Nectar of the Gods”. The driest of our ciders leaves a lasting round finish that calls for more. May the Gods be appeased.

Cidery Description:  ATLAS Cider Co. produces authentic hard cider fermented from 100% fresh pressed fruit from our region. Partnering with Northwest farmers to source our fruit has been a priority of ours from the beginning. Our ciders start with a base of NW varieties that are pressed to achieve a balance of sweetness, tartness, and dryness. We forge our ciders in the heart of the NW in Bend, OR.  Fermented from 100% fresh pressed fruit.  All fruit from our local OR/WA region.  No use of anything artificial or colorings.  Balanced with just a touch of sweetness.  Naturally Gluten free.  22oz bottles and kegs available.

Price:  $6
Where Bought:  My husband picked this up for me at Albertsons.  Actually, he brought home all three Atlas varieties they had there!  Apple, Apricot, and Blackberry.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It showed up in the fridge (although I’ve seen them at almost every bottle shop in my area).

2015-10-31 16.35.43

First Impression:  Straw yellow with a hint of orange.  Light carbonation and foam.  Smells like apple, apricot, peach, and tropical/pineapple juices.

Opinion:  Semi-sweet.  Bold apple, apricot, peach, and tropical/pineapple flavors.  Very juice-like.  Well-hodden alcohol.  Light tartness and sourness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, astringency, tannins, etc.  Light bodied. Almost no carbonation. Quick finish.  Crisp and refreshing.  A bit one-dimensional.

Most Similar to:  Woodinville Ciderworks Tropical, which I tried at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 (tasting notes here).  It also had bold fruitiness and was juice-like but I was a big fan.

Closing Notes:   I’m not a huge fruity juice-like cider fan, but I quite liked this.  Its an easy drinking cider which would be especially nice in summer.  My husband was also a huge fan.  I can see why Atlas is so popular!  They have tons of Facebook fans at least.  I think this cider had the best flavor of the four Atlas varieties, but overall I think I liked the Apple best as it was a touch more complex.  Maybe someday I’ll get to try some of their special releases, which mostly seem to be available at their taproom.

Check out their Vimeo site.  It currently includes three videos, including a behind the scenes look at the details to operating a cider company.

Have you tried Atlas Apricot?  What did you think?