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?

Urban Tree Cidery Barrel-Aged

Review of Urban Tree Cidery’s Barrel-Aged variety, described as a premium cider aged in oak rum barrels.  It is my first time trying any of their ciders, and I sampled their current flagship line-up of three ciders all at once.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Urban Tree.  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:  Barrel-Aged
Cidery:  Urban Tree Cidery
Cidery Location:  Atlanta Georgia
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider, rum barrel aged

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Availability:  Their tasting room in Atlanta, these locations around Atlanta, and online sales (in Georgia)

Cider Description:  Our hand-pressed apple juice is slowly fermented with champagne yeast, then aged to perfection in Nicaraguan rum barrels. Hints of brown sugar, woody vanilla and oak notes play in this dry, sturdy sip. A perfect complement to those moments you want to slow down a little to soak up the memory.

Cidery Description:  At the core of Georgian pride and Atlanta’s spirit live the seeds of change. A new legacy is rising – challenging the conventions of good taste and fine drink.

Urban Tree was founded by a husband and wife in 2015, opened a tasting room in 2016, and is described as Atlanta’s first cidery.  They use local apples from the Cathey Family Orchard in Mountain City Georgia.

Price:  n/a (retails for $13-16)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidery contacted me

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First Impression:  Light golden amber hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells acidic and slightly sour, with a hint of richness.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of sourness, bitterness, and funk.  Notes of caramel, lemon, grapefruit, wood, earth, and nuts.  Moderate length finish.  Low oak influence.  Hints of rum influence.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, complexity, and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  I had been expecting more barrel influence due to the cider’s name, but I perceived it as pretty mild.  However, my husband picked up significantly more oak & rum flavor than me and my friends, likely as he drinks aged spirits more often.  I imagine they were going for approachable, which makes sense.  It was similar to their Original, except with the tang mellowed out a bit, and hints of richness.

Most Similar to:  This was less intense than the rum barrel aged ciders I’ve previously tried, such as Crispin 15 Men, Sea Cider Prohibition / Rum Runner, and Vermont Cider Co. Wassail.  Slightly reminiscent of Montana CiderWorks North Fork Traditional and Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Apples.

Closing Notes:  Next up (and last) is Urban Tree’s Classic cider.

Have you tried cider from Urban Tree?  What did you think?