Eden Benjamin

Review of Eden Cellar Series #16, Benjamin, a Petillant Naturel cider made from 2019 harvest apples from Eden’s own biodynamic orchard, and named after their orchardist Benjamin Applegate.  ‘Pet Nat’ is also known as Méthode Ancestrale, and is a way to make naturally sparkling cider (see here for more info on this style).  It is my first time trying this cider, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Photo Sep 07, 5 19 34 PM

Cider:  Benjamin
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage Petillant Naturel cider from heirloom & cider apples, zero residual sugar

Photo Sep 07, 5 20 10 PM Photo Sep 07, 5 20 19 PM

Availability:  in limited markets and through their website

Cider Description:  PROFILE: Bubbly, tart, juicy
APPLE VARIETIES: Northern Spy, Golden Russet, Grimes Golden, Esopus Spitzenberg, Michelin, Ashmead’s Kernel, Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, Egremont Russet, Stembridge Cluster, Blue Pearmain, Binet Rouge, Orleans Reinette, Calville Blanc, Rubinette
METHOD: Spontaneous fermentation, bottled in process before finishing. Not disgorged, contains residual lees
TASTING NOTES: tangerine, white roses and granite
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: oysters, charcuterie, farro bowl

For more info, see here and here.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  $28
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Sep 07, 5 21 57 PM

First Impression:  Hazy light pumpkin hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of mild apple with hints of must and funk.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of sharp but juicy heirloom apple and lemon with hints of floral and earth/straw.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, and flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, once I got past the first mouth-puckering tart sip.  Super apple forward and juicy although without any sweetness.

Most Similar to:  Eden Deep Cut, except with more complexity, more tartness, and a hint of funk

Closing Notes:  Although this was nice to try, both my husband and I preferred Eden Deep Cut due to the lower tartness.

Have you tried Eden Benjamin?  What did you think?

Eden Deep Cut

Review of Eden’s Deep Cut, a new dry canned harvest cider offering, co-released with Peak Bloom which I reviewed here.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Deep Cut
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider from heirloom & cider apples, dry

Photo Sep 04, 7 38 59 PM Photo Sep 04, 7 39 14 PM Photo Sep 04, 7 39 26 PM

Availability:  soon, in limited markets and through their website

Cider Description:  This is a dry, hazy, full-bodied 6.2% ABV cider made from Golden Russet, Somerset Redstreak, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, McIntosh and Empire apples that were harvested in 2019.  Slow cold fermentation and no filtering means lots of layered, rich flavor, with tasting notes of peach, black tea and citrus. Eden suggests pairing Deep Cut with fried chicken, tacos and grilled anything!

For more info, see here.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $3-4 / can
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Sep 04, 7 38 41 PM

First Impression:  Hazy light yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells mild, of apple and must.

Tasting Notes:  Fully dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of juicy heirloom apple and lemon with hints of earth and herbs.  Moderate tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  Ciders like this could turn a sweeter cider lover like me onto dry ciders.  I think it was because of the lower tartness, which seemed to make it easier to drink, as it was less sharp.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve had.  The less filtered style was reminiscent of ciders from Downeast, but that is not at all dry, and a completely opposite style (modern not heritage).

Closing Notes:  Usually when I drink a dry cider like this I’ll think about how just a touch of sweetness would have made it better, and more flavorful, but I truly don’t think it would have worked for this cider.

Have you tried Eden Deep Cut?  What did you think?

Eden Peak Bloom

Review of Eden’s Peak Bloom, a new semi-dry canned harvest cider offering, co-released with Deep Cut (dry), which I’ll review soon.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Peak Bloom
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider from heirloom & cider apples, semi-dry

Photo Aug 29, 5 52 05 PM Photo Aug 29, 5 52 13 PM Photo Aug 29, 5 52 21 PM

Availability:  soon, in limited markets and through their website

Cider Description:  This is an off-dry, clean and refreshing cider made from a blend of Dabinett, McIntosh, Empire, Spartan and Esopus Spitzenburg apples harvested in 2018. Like Deep Cut, Peak Bloom was also fermented slow and cold, blended with a few drops of ice cider, and then filtered, before being carbonated and pasteurized. Tasting notes include applesauce, honey, white grape and slate. Pairing suggestions include curries, barbecue and outdoor fun!

For more info, see here and here.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $3-4 / can
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Aug 29, 5 51 43 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, clean, of acidic citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of complex heirloom apple, citrus, honey, and floral.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor and overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability and complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  I enjoyed the flavor profile, and found it super sessionable, but with plenty of complexity to keep my interest.  I’d personally prefer a bit more sweetness, although I say that about most heritage ciders.

Most Similar to:  Eden’s 2019 Harvest Cider

Closing Notes:  This is yet another excellent cider option from Eden.

Have you tried Eden Peak Bloom?  What did you think?

Eden Claudine Keeved Cider

Review of Eden’s Claudine, a French-style keeved cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies, The FalstaffHeritageSiren SongEzekiel Kingston BlackHarvest, and Extra Sec.

Photo Feb 15, 6 45 53 PM (1)

Cider:  Claudine (Cellar Series)
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft French-style keeved cicder

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Availability:  online only, limited release

Cider Description:  Normandy-style keeved cider, made from 3 bittersweet apple varieties. This is a special version of a petillant naturel that retains residual sweetness, balanced by tannin rather than acidity. Its delicious, rich flavor is a fantastic accompaniment to traditional Normandy foods. Enjoy with a plate of cider-braised mussels, a bowl of pork stew, or a slather of Camembert cheese.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  $36 / 3 bottles (currently no single bottle option) + shipping
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  e-mail from the cidery

Photo Feb 15, 6 49 03 PM

First Impression:  Medium orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells sweet, of rich apple and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No funk or sourness.  Notes of rich complex apple pomace & juice and orange.  Quick finish with a hint of bitterness and tannins.  High apple flavor, sessionability, and overall flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really liked it.  On the simpler side, but most French and French-style ciders are, and its far from boring.  Sweeter than most other offerings from Eden, which I like, as my favorite non-ice cider from them is probably their semi-sweet Guinevere’s Pearls.  I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and a French cider.  I think it would be perfect for a weekend brunch.

Most Similar to:  a number of cleaner French ciders (no funk or sourness); see here for some of my past French cider reviews

Closing Notes:  Interesting they are only selling this in half-size 375ml bottles, especially with the low ABV.  From the price and style I’m guessing this cider cost them a lot to make, and the smaller bottle size kept the price much lower (vs. $24 / 750ml bottle assuming double the price of one 375ml bottle).

Have you tried Eden Claudine?  What did you think?

Eden Extra Sec

Review of Eden’s Extra Sec, their dry sparkling methode champenoise cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and New Hampshire.  It is my first time trying this, although I have had their Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies, FalstaffHeritage 2018Siren SongEzekiel Kingston Black, and Harvest 2019.

Photo Dec 31, 5 13 12 PM.jpg

Cider:  Extra Sec
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  375ml & 750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom & cider apples, methode champenoise, dry

Photo Dec 31, 5 13 52 PM Photo Dec 31, 5 14 17 PM

Availability:  limited, although they have online sales

Cider Description:  Champagne-method cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and at Poverty Lane Orchards in New Hampshire. It is naturally sparkling and clean – we hand-disgorge the yeast from every bottle! Beautifully balanced between fruit, acid, and tannin. The barely perceptible dosage serves to bring forth the fruit character of the cider. Perfect with roast pork, turkey and vegetable gratin dishes.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $15
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

Photo Dec 31, 5 27 28 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of dry acidic heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of complex tart heirloom apples, lemon, wood/earth, and pineapple.  Long tart finish.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, especially as it isn’t fully dry, and has some complexity, but this isn’t my favorite style of cider.  My husband was predictably even a big fan, as its a favorite style of his.  I recommend this to fans of complex dry tart sparkling ciders; its very well made and an excellent value.

Most Similar to:  Eden Harvest cider, but sparkling, a touch drier, and more complex

Closing Notes:  Awhile back Eden replaced their flagship ‘Dry’ and ‘Semi-Dry’ ciders with ‘Brut Nature’ and ‘Extra Sec’, all of which are sparkling, with the former at 0% residual sugar and the later (reviewed here) at 0.9% residual sugar.  I think I preferred the ‘Semi-Dry’ a bit over Extra Sec, as it was a touch sweeter and richer, but anything from Eden is a good choice.

Have you tried Eden Extra Sec?  What did you think?

Eden Harvest Cider

Review of Eden Harvest Cider, their second canned cider release (see here for my review of the first).  I’ve also tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The Falstaff, Siren Song, and Ezekiel Kingston Black.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Photo Aug 17, 4 45 30 PM (1) Photo Aug 17, 4 45 46 PM (1) Photo Aug 17, 4 46 10 PM (1)

Cider:  Harvest Cider
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.4%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned heritage cider from Vermong grown heirloom & cider apple varieties

Availability:  limited, to parts of CO, MA, NC, NJ, NY, SC, and VT

Cider Description:  Aromatic. Generously sparkling. Off-dry. Our new, canned Eden Harvest Cider reflects everything we care about:  High flavor, heirloom and tannic apples grown in small, regional orchards.  Fresh pressed at harvest to capture the full flavor of the fruit just as it ripens.  Fermented dry and blended with just a drop of our award-winning Eden Ice Cider to create an everyday cider with extraordinary complexity.  Contains heirloom and tannic apples varieties from local small family orchards, including: Dabinett, McIntosh, Empire, Spartan, and Esopus Spitzenburg.

See more on their website, here and here.  They amazingly only make this once a year.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

Price:  n/a (runs ~ $16 / four pack, which sounds like a lot, but is an awesome deal at just over $8 / 750ml, instead of $15-20)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a cidery rep contacted me

Photo Aug 17, 4 44 24 PM (1).jpg

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of citrus and heirloom apples.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of super juicy apple and lemon with hints of floral and tropical fruit.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  This went over really well with my husband and non-cider drinking house guests too.  Lots of complex flavor without being sweet.  Super refreshing and easy to drink.

Most Similar to:  A sessionable version of a drier heritage cider.

Closing Notes:  This is definitely the highest quality cider currently available in a can.  I liked it even better than last year’s version.  I’m impressed!  Too bad it doesn’t sound like it’ll be available locally, as I’d love to stock some in my cider fridge.

Have you tried any canned heritage cider?  What did you think?

Eden Ezekiel Kingston Black

Review of Eden’s Cellar Series #8 ‘Ezekiel’ Kingston Black.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had many varieties from Eden – Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The FalstaffHeritage (canned), and Siren Song.

Photo Dec 14, 6 25 15 PM.jpg

Cider:  Cellar Series #9, Ezekiel
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport, VT
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American heritage cider, Kingston Black single varietal

Photo Dec 14, 6 25 31 PM Photo Dec 14, 6 25 51 PM

Availability:  probably just online, although their regular ciders are sold in stores

Cider Description:  This cellar series cider is named after Ezekiel Goodband, the orchardist at Scott Farm who grew the apples from which it is made. 100% Kingston Black apples – a classic British cider variety that is known as one of the few apples that has sufficient sugar, acid and tannin to make a balanced single variety cider. Rare apples, pressed at harvest, carefully fermented and bottle-conditioned with our ice cider produce a cider that is exquisitely delicious and unique.

Winner: 2017 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, Silver Medal.  2016 Harvest.  100% Kingston Black, grown at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont.  Bottle-conditioned, naturally sparkling, residual lees…Limited run: Only 100 cases produced

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a Tasting Bar in Newport VT, and a Boutique Taproom & Cheese Bar in Winooski VT.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  their online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, as I wanted to check if they had any new varieties since I last looked, and they did, so I ordered some, then they e-mailed to say they were offering free shipping! (through Dec 20 2018, on 3 or more bottles)

Photo Dec 14, 6 27 27 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of sharp tart apple.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple and pomace, lemon, mineral, and honey.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was a bit too tart and sharp for my liking.  Also, less rich than all the other five Kingston Black SVs I’ve tried, but the KB is a bittersharp not a bittersweet cider apple variety, so rich flavor notes shouldn’t be a given.  My husband was a big fan though, and happy to finish the bottle.

Most Similar to:  many of the drier tart heritage ciders from heirloom cider apples available in the NE

Closing Notes:  My favorite Kingston Black SV so far is from Liberty, although I’ve also tried ones from Farnum Hill, Eve’s, Dragon’s Head, and Whitewood.

Have you tried a Kingston Black single varietal?  What did you think?

Eden Cellar Series #9 Siren Song

Review of Eden Cellar Series #9, Siren Song.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had many varieties from Eden – Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The Falstaff, and Heritage (canned).

Photo Dec 07, 7 01 44 PM.jpg

Cider:  Cellar Series #9, Siren Song
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport, VT
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider

Photo Dec 07, 7 01 44 PM - Copy Photo Dec 07, 7 02 24 PM

Availability:  probably just online, although their regular ciders are sold in stores

Cider Description:  In Greek mythology the songs of the Sirens were enough to entice a Mariner to jump off his trireme, only to meet his end in the depths of the Adriatic Sea. This cider will beguile you with fruit, spice and smoke, cradled in an illusion of residual sweetness. As you follow it down to the depths of your glass, the tannins reveal themselves in astringency rather than bitterness. The complexity derives from a mix of over 20 apple varieties, harvest-pressed and fermented slow and cold as are all our heritage ciders. The curvaceous balance derives from skillful blending by our enraptured Cider team. Another glassful calls.

Limited run: Only 80 cases produced.  Winner 2018 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) Gold: Heritage Dry Cider.  2017 Harvest.  20 variety blend of tannic cider apples, including Kerr and Dolgo crabs, Russets and high acid heirlooms.  Filtered and carbonated.  7.5% ABV, 1.2% residual sweetness.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a Tasting Bar in Newport VT, and a Boutique Taproom & Cheese Bar in Winooski VT.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  their online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, as I wanted to check if they had any new varieties since I last looked, and they did, so I ordered some, then they e-mailed to say they were offering free shipping! (through Dec 20 2018, on 3 or more bottles)

Photo Dec 07, 7 03 44 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of tart tannic rich apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple, caramel, lemon, mineral, earth, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity, sessionability, and apple flavor.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Nice complexity with a unique flavor profile, a little of everything.  I definitely picked up more influence from crab and heirloom apples than bittersweet apples though.  I had this after dinner, but I think it would be even better suited to pair with a meal, nearly anything.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Ciderworks Hewe’s Crab SV

Closing Notes:  I also purchased Eden’s newish Extra Sec and Cellar Series Ezekiel (Kingston Black SV), both of which I’ll review soon, and another bottle of Guinevere’s Pearls, which I have to say I prefer over Siren Song.

Have you tried Eden Siren Song?  What did you think?

Eden Heritage Cider

Review of Eden Heritage Cider, their first canned product.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice Cider, Two Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), and The Falstaff.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Photo Jun 14, 3 45 58 PM Photo Jun 14, 3 46 09 PM Photo Jun 14, 3 46 18 PM

Cider:  Heritage Cider
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned heritage cider

Availability:  VT, MA, ME, NJ, NY, CO, NC, SC, and soon in NH, VA, MD, D.C., and IL, released June 2018

Cider Description:  More flavor.  Less sweet.  Harvest Pressed.  Cold fermented.  Nothing but apples.  Made like wine.  Canned for convenience.

Made from Vermont-grown heirloom & cider apples, fermented dry, aged 5 months, then blended with a touch of ice cider to 1.2% residual sugar.  It won silver in the Heritage Dry category at GLINTCAP 2018.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport Vermont.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  n/a (runs $16 / four pack, which sounds like a lot, but is an awesome deal at just over $8 / 750ml instead of ~ $15)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidermaker Eleanor Leger contacted me

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of acidic citrus-forward heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of heirloom apple, lemon, mineral, white grape, green apple, and floral.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Lots of flavor without being sweet.  Complex.  More of the flavor profile was from the heirloom apples (acidic, citrus, floral, fruity) than the cider apples (rich, caramel); I’ve found this to be the case when both types are listed in a blend.

Most Similar to:  A mix between Eden’s Dry and Semi-Dry ciders, although slightly less complex and more sessionable.

Closing Notes:  This is a great option which would work just as well when spending time outside on a hot day as it would with a fancy dinner.

Have you tried any canned heritage ciders?  What did you think?

Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series #2 The Falstaff

Review of Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series #2, The Falstaff, a seven-year barrel-aged ice cider!  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice Cider, and Two Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed).

Photo Nov 13, 6 09 19 PM

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden.  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:  Cellar Series #2, The Falstaff
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport Vermont
ABV:  10%
Residual Sugar: 15%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American artisan ice cider from Vermont apples, aged for 7 years in a single oak barrel

Photo Nov 13, 6 09 35 PM Photo Nov 13, 6 09 45 PM

Availability:  Now sold out.  This was an early batch of their ice cider, aged in a single oak barrel from 2008-2015, put into 600 bottles, and sold to their cider club members in 2015 & 2016.

However, in general, their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Rare single-barrel ice cider aged for 7 years in used French oak. It is elegantly oxidized and sweet, like a rich oloroso without fortification. Dark and warm, it still has beautiful acidity, along with notes of golden raisin, caramelized sugar, apricot and fig.

won Chairman’s Award / Best Wood-Aged Cider: Dan Berger Cider Competition 2016

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport Vermont.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  n/a (retails for $50)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this online, but it was cider club only, then sold out.  I got lucky and a rep from Eden saw it on my Wish List and contacted me.

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First Impression:  Deep caramel amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells amazing and enticing – very rich, sweet, and boozy, of concentrated apple juice, molasses, and so much more.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Full bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of molasses, caramel, raisin, ripe baked apple, tart raw green apple, lemon, brown sugar, caramelized sugar, pie spices, and even more!  Long finish length.  High apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Very high complexity.  Very low sessionability.  More aged than oaky.

My Opinion:  Amazing!!  Probably tied with Alpenfire Smoke for most complex cider I’ve ever drank.  The tartness and acidity was higher than their other ice ciders, but that helped balance the sweetness, and added to the flavor complexity.  It was a unique mix of rich, sweet, tart, savory, and more.  I recommend serving this an ounce or two at a time, very cold, and to slowly savor in tiny sips.

Most Similar to:  This is a more complex, tart & acidic, and aged version of their other ice ciders, probably closest to Eden’s Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom ice cider (which was my favorite ice cider until I tried this one).

Closing Notes:  I’m so lucky to have been able to try this!  I look forward to enjoying the rest of this bottle over the next couple weeks, including on Thanksgiving.  Hopefully I won’t have to share it with anyone.

Have you tried any ice cider from Eden?  What did you think?

Windfall Orchard Ice Cider

Review of Windfall Orchard Ice Cider, made by Eden Specialty Ciders.  Ice cider is made by using apple juice which has been naturally concentrated by cold, creating a very high sugar fuller bodied juice syrup which is then fermented.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve tried most everything else Eden has made – Sparkling DryCellar Series Cinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 Rosé, and Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider.

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Cider:  Ice Cider
Cidery:  Windfall Orchard (made by Eden Specialty Ciders)
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  9.0%
How Supplied:  187 & 375 ml bottles
Style:  American craft ice cider from heirloom apples from Cornwall VT

2017-07-15 20.09.33 2017-07-15 20.10.02 2017-07-15 20.09.50

Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia Canada, although this one likely has less distribution.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Ice cider made from a blend of apples grown at Windfall Orchard in Cornwall, Vermont.  This small-batch ice cider is made from apples grown by Chef Brad Koehler on the farm he shares with his wife Amy Trubek, UVM Professor and author of “The Taste of Place”. There are about 200 trees in Brad’s orchard, and among them he has over 80 varieties. Over thirty of them are used to make this light, smooth and extremely elegant ice cider.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.

Price:  $17 / 187ml or $27 / 375ml
Where Bought:  Eden’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing; it was the only ice cider variety from Eden I hadn’t tried

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First Impression:  Dark amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of caramelized apple syrup.

Tasting Notes:  Very sweet.  Full bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Low tannins.  Concentrated notes of rich ripe baked apple, caramelized sugar, honey, stone fruit, and floral.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it; Eden has never disappointed.  This was a bit more fruity than rich, and slightly less complex than some of their others.  A lovely sipping beverage to have with dessert.

Most Similar to:  All of Eden’s other ice ciders.  It also reminded me a bit of Tieton Frost.

Closing Notes:  My favorite Eden ice cider remains their Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider, but they are all awesome.

Have you tried ice cider?  What did you think?

Eden Cellar Series Guinevere’s Pearls

Review of Eden’s Guinevere’s Pearls, part of their Cellar Series (#4), only available to club members.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I have previously sampled their Sparkling Dry, Cellar Series Cinderella’s Slipper, Heirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-Dry, Northern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice Cider, Honeycrisp Ice Cider, Imperial 11 Rosé, and Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider.

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Cider:  Guinevere’s Pearls
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  11.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American Artisan Imperial-style semi-sweet Northern Spy apple single varietal

2017-05-17 19.14.23 2017-05-17 19.14.39

Availability:  Eden’s online store, for cider club members, 50 cases of 12 bottles.  However, in general, their ciders are available in CA, CO, CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, SC, VT, WA, WA D.C., and Alberta B.C. Canada.

Cider Description:  In deepest winter’s ice and snow, four containers of fresh apple juice began their journey.  We pressed this juice at Eden Orchards from Northern Spy apples conscientiously grown in Vermont by Ezekiel Goodband and Jessika Yates.  As the cold set in, the water in the juice began to freeze, intensifying the sugars and flavors in the remaining unfrozen residual apple sweetness to balance this regal apple’s notable acidity.  Like Guinevere’s pearls, which she gave to King Arthur as a talisman for his knightly pursuits, the precious drops of sweetness in this unique cider may inspire you to accomplish heroic deeds and win your Queen or King…or just encourage you to sip a little slower to enjoy the beauty they add to your drinking experience.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  Eden’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light golden amber.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of cider apples and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied with a frothy mouthfeel.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate bitterness.  Low to moderate tannins.  Moderate funk.  No sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, yeast, must, stone fruit, honey, and brown sugar.  Long warming finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I loved the uniqueness, with the combination of high acidity, richness, sweetness, high ABV, and carbonation.  The only thing I would change would be to have less bitterness.

Most Similar to:  I don’t think I’ve had anything similar.  It reminded me a bit of a French cider as it is apple and yeast forward and is fizzy.  However, it is more acidic and fruity and has a higher ABV.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got a chance to try this.  Its an excellent value too.  I also picked up some Sparkling Semi-Dry and Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider at the same time which I have to look forward to.

Have you tried Eden Guinevere’s Pearls?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard & Eden Specialty Ciders Collaboration – Understood in Motion: 01

Review of the first collaboration between Angry Orchard & Eden Specialty Ciders, Understood in Motion: 01.  It is the first in a series of planned releases, made by head cidermaker Ryan Burk of Angry Orchard and co-owner & cidermaker Eleanor Leger of Eden Specialty Ciders.  It is named for the motion of apple harvest and the cider making process.

The apples were grown and pressed in Vermont at Eden’s cidery, then the juice was shipped to Angry Orchard’s Innovation cidery in New York for fermentation and six months of aging (some in tanks and some in Calvados barrels).  After that, Ryan and Eleanor met to blend the cider with some three year old Eden ice cider.

Here is an article with more information on the cider, and here is an article about Angry Orchard’s Innovation Cider House releases in 2016.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Angry Orchard.  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.<<

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Cider:  Understood in Motion: 01
Cidery:  Angry Orchard & Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Walden NY & Newport VT
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Vermont heirloom apple varieties, a mix of tank & Calvados barrel aging, and mixed with ice cider

2016-11-28-16-16-47 2016-11-28-16-17-01

Availability:  Limited release, only at Angry Orchard’s Walden New York Innovation Cider House, since November 18

Cider Description:  This cider was born of friendship among two Northeast cider makers, as well as a shared commitment to raising awareness of the American cider industry. With Understood in Motion 01, we worked with our friends at Eden Specialty Ciders (VT) to combine techniques and favorite ingredients to develop something completely new, while paying homage to the American cider making tradition.

This cider is made from a carefully selected blend of heirloom apples from Vermont, including Ananas Reinette and D’Arcy, resulting in a still, semi-dry cider with balanced acidity and low tannin, aged in Calvados barrels for 6 months.

It recently won Gold in the Cider/Mead/ Perry at the FoBAB Competition.

Price:  n/a (retails for $25)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about it online.

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First Impression:  Light pumpkin amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells rich, of brown sugar, honey, and baked apples.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of baked apple, brown sugar, honey, lemon, and grapefruit.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Low oak influence.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  I was expecting more tannins and less citrus, but it worked.  It tasted like a high acidity citrusy cider mixed with some rich ice cider.  I actually enjoyed it even more the second day.  Because it is still, it didn’t have carbonation to go flat.  The acidity also seemed to calm down a bit, bringing out more richness.

Most Similar to:  This reminded me of Eden’s Semi-Dry cider (which also mixes ice cider into dry cider), as well as Slyboro Old Sin.

Closing Notes:  I feel privileged to have got a bottle of this limited release cider!  Special thanks to Diana Mask at Angry Orchard for hooking me up.  These two cideries would have been my last guess for a collaboration match up, but I can see how it benefits them both.  Angry Orchard is trying to improve their image from just a mass market sweet simple cider maker.  Eden is a small artisan cidery startup without the budget for marketing campaigns or nationwide cider releases.  I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Have you tried Angry Orchard & Eden Specialty Ciders Collaboration – Understood in Motion: 01?  What did you think?

Eden Heirloom Blend 2013 Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider

Review of Eden Ice Cider’s Heirloom Blend, aged in apple brandy barrels, made in 2013 in Newport VT.  I’ve tried a number of their ice ciders and sparkling ciders; see here.

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Cider:  Heirloom Blend, limited release, 2013, aged in Apple Brandy Barrels
Cidery:  Eden Ice Cider
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  10%
Residual Sugar:  15%
How Supplied:  187ml & 375ml tall skinny glass bottles
Style:  American craft ice cider, aged in apple brandy barrels

2016-09-22-18-38-44 2016-09-22-18-38-57 2016-09-22-18-39-06

Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia, although this one has less distribution than their non barrel aged Heirloom Blend, which is most commonly found.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  This limited release of our flagship Heirloom Blend Ice Cider has been aged in 10-year old barrels previously used for apple brandy. It has notes of caramel, apple sauce, and vanilla, a round, full mouthfeel, and plenty of acidity to create a lasting, refreshing finish.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  $17 / 187ml
Where Bought:  through their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing their online store.  I enjoyed their Heirloom Blend, and loved their Northern Spy barrel aged cider, so it wasn’t a hard sell.

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First Impression:  Still.  Deep caramel amber hue.  Smells of rich ripe baked apples, residual sugar, higher ABV, brown sugar, burnt caramel, honey, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet to very sweet.  Full bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Concentrated notes of baked apples, brown sugar, burnt caramel, vanilla, honey, brandy, oak, orange, and a hint of spice.  Long warming finish.  Low sessionability.  High apple flavor.  High flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate to high brandy influence.  Low oak influence.

My Opinion:  Amazing!  I enjoyed the barrel aged and brandy qualiies of this ice cider.  Due to the sweetness this is definitely a beverage to sip only a small quantity after dinner, but that means even a small bottle lasts awhile.  It also kept very well in the fridge, without any noticeable flavor change during the week I had it open.  I think this is my favorite of their ice ciders so far, just slightly above Northern Spy (see here), as it had the added apple brandy flavor in addition to just the oak aging.

Most Similar to:  High quality ice ciders.  Compared to Eden’s Heirloom Blend, it had added oak and apple brandy notes.  Compared to Eden’s Northern Spy, it had added apple brandy notes.  Their different ice ciders have a lot of similarities but also differences.

Closing Notes:   This was another impressive cider from Eden Ice Cider.  I still have their Windfall Orchard ice cider left to try, which I ordered at the same time.

Have you tried Eden Ice Ciders?  What did you think?

Eden Imperial 11 Rosé

Review of Eden’s Imperial 11 Rosé.  This is their newest cider, an Imperial cider made with red currant, sweetened with a bit of ice cider.  I’ve previously tried a number of their ciders; see here.  I ordered this and a few other bottles through their online store, so stay tuned for more Eden reviews.

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Cider:  Imperial 11 Rosé
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  11.o0%
How Supplied:  375ml (and 750ml) bottles
Style:  American craft Imperial (high ABV) rosé (blush colored) cider with red currant, sweetened with ice cider

2016-08-07 16.52.06 2016-08-07 16.52.14 2016-08-07 16.52.22

Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia, although this one has less distribution, and likely didn’t make it too far beyond VT.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Heirloom apple cider made with red currant and lightly dosed with ice cider. It is just off-dry and gently fizzy, with bright acidity and chewy tannic structure. A perfectly refreshing summer sipper!

This semi-dry tannic rose cider is fermented with red currant juice and slightly sweetened.  It is made from a blend of traditional and heirloom apple varieties grown within 200 miles of our cidery.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  $7.00 (for 375ml; or $14 for 750ml)
Where Bought:  Eden’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had read about its release on Facebook, and had been wanting to do an online order for awhile, as there are a number of varieties not available locally.

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First Impression:  Lovely rosé red hue.  Low carbonation with tiny tiny bubbles.  Smells of strawberries and watermelon.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of red currant, strawberry, watermelon, honeydew melon, and raspberry.  Long slightly boozy finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I also think this cider is an excellent value, especially considering the high ABV (the 375ml bottle was plenty for me for the evening due to the 11% ABV) and the high cost of heirloom apples and red currants.

Most Similar to:   I more commonly see black currant used in cider.  The only one with red currant I’ve had is Finriver’s newish Liberry Brandy Wine (see here), although I heard Schilling made a Red Currant Ginger cider recently.  I’ve a huge fan of Imperial cider though.

Its uncommon to have a fruity/flavorful Imperial cider.  I think it would be quite difficult to pull off, as a high ABV cider typically requires high sugar content apple juice fermented completely dry, which often results in a less flavorful cider.  Yet in this case the red currants still shown through, which I think is a sign of experienced cidermaking (and likely a lot of experimentation!).  I think the bit of ice cider back sweetening helped in this case make it less harsh, as a completely dry, tart, and high ABV cider can be a bit much.

Closing Notes:   Another winner from Eden!

Have you tried any rosé ciders?  What did you think?

Newhall Farm Ice Cider

Review of Newhall Farm Ice Cider, made by Eden Ice Cider in West Charleston Vermont from Newhall Farm apples from Reading Vermont.  This is Newhall Farm’s only cider and my first time trying it.  However, my previous Eden Ice Cider reviews can be found here.  Interesting note – ice ciders can be corked similar to grape wine as they are still (non carbonated).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Newhall Farm.  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:  Ice Cider
Cidery:  Newhall Farm (by Eden Ice Cider)
Cidery Location:  apples from Reading VT, made in West Charleston VT
ABV:  12%
Residual Sugar:  13 or 14%
Acidity:  1.8%
How Supplied:  187ml bottle
Style:  American craft ice cider made from organic apples

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Availability:  CT, ME, NH, NY, and VT, plus they offer sales direct to consumer and through Fine Wine Cellars.  100 cases made.

Cider Description:  Defined as the American grape, apple steps up to the 21st century with ice cider bursting onto the American drink scene.

Serve NEWHALL FARM ICE CIDER as a sophisticated alternative to dessert, as an exceptional complement to cheese, spicy foods, charcuterie, or enjoy with cream desserts, good old-fashioned apple pie with ice cream, and as a wedding cake wine extraordinaire.

100% Newhall Farm estate grown apples are concentrated by using natural Northern Vermont winter temperatures. No sugar, coloring, alcohol, or flavorings are added.

Our selective blend of organic heirloom, dessert and wild apples ripples with a fresh crispness and hint of late harvest honey, rounding out spice and acidity to a lingering finish of Vermont’s autumn bounty….Liberty, Empire, Crispin, Honeycrisp, Cortland, mix of heirloom and wild apples.

Cidery Description:  Newhall Farm is committed to excellence and produces only the highest quality, natural products while using skilled animal husbandry and fostering responsible stewardship of the land. No growth hormones or fed antibiotics are ever used, and only organic sprays are used in our orchards.  Our Vermont heritage products include: ice cider, maple syrup, raw honey, grass fed beef, Berkshire pork, pastured lamb.

Price:  n/a, but retails for $20+ for 187ml or $30+ for 375ml
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  They sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like a sample bottle.  I’d actually heard of them, such as through this post from Cider Culture on Cideries in Winter, and this article from Seven Days VT on Vermont ice ciders, and was excited to try an ice cider which isn’t available in WA.

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First Impression:  Deep caramel amber.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sweet rich ripe apples, caramel, caramelized sugar, and brown sugar.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet to very sweet.  Low to moderate acidity & tartness.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of caramel, caramelized sugar, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and hints of spice.  Full bodied.  Full flavored.  Long lingering warm boozy finish.  Very apple forward.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I’m a fan!  That said, I’ve only tried 3 ice ciders previously, all from Eden, and liked them all, so I don’t have too much to compare to.  Like Eden’s ice ciders, I liked this best very cold.  Its quite sweet, but in a refined and well-crafted way, and is traditionally served in a small quantity (such as after dinner), so the sweetness wasn’t overwhelming.  Although this is a (very cute) tiny bottle with only about 6 ounces, it lasted a few pours as the serving size is much smaller than traditional ciders.

Most Similar to:  Eden Ice Cider Heirloom Blend.  I found them overall very similar, down to the profile, flavor notes, body, etc.  They mainly varied in the finish, where I found Newhall Farm to be longer, more warming / boozy (it is 2% higher in ABV), and slightly less balanced.  It would be really interesting to taste them side by side.

Closing Notes:   Very enjoyable.  However, we all have our favorites, and so far, Eden Ice Cider Northern Spy (barrel aged) is mine when it comes to ice cider.  I look forward to trying more ice ciders.  I have a bottle of Frost from Tieton Ciderworks (Yakima WA) in the cabinet (next to the 2 Towns & Finnriver Pommeau, Moonlight Meadery Last Apple cyser, and lots of cider).

Have you tried any ice cider?

Eden Honeycrisp Ice Cider

Review of Eden Ice Cider’s Honeycrisp single varietal ice cider, made in Newport Vermont.  I’ve tried their Heirloom Blend and Northern Spy ice ciders, Dry and Semi-Dry sparkling ciders, and even their Cellar Series Cinderella’s Slipper.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden Ice 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:  Honeycrisp
Cidery:  Eden Ice Cider
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  10.0%
Residual Sugar: 15%
How Supplied:  187ml & 375ml tall skinny glass bottles
Style:  American Honeycrisp apple single varietal craft ice cider

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Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia, although this one has less distribution than their flagship Heirloom Blend ice cider.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  This tangy, elegant ice cider is made 100% from Vermont-grown Honeycrisp apples. The Honeycrisp is a prized Northern USA apple variety. As its name suggests, there is a honeyed quality to its sweetness, accompanied by sufficient acidity to keep the flavor fresh and crisp. Enjoy with cheese, maple crème brulee, or butter cookies.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  n/a (retails for $17+ for 187ml and $27+ for 375ml)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Eden ice ciders online, and tried them for the first time at Cider Summit Seattle 2015.  Since then, I’ve bought a couple bottles and received some samples, including this one.

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First Impression:  Still.  Honeyed amber caramel hue.  Smells of rich ripe apples and honey with hints of caramel and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Very sweet.  Low acidity, tartness, and tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Full bodied (a good kind of syrupy).  Concentrated intense full flavor notes of rich ripe apples and honey, with hints of caramel and vanilla.  Long warming finish.  Moderate apple influence.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  This ice cider is definitely honey-forward.  Due to the sweetness it is definitely a beverage to sip only a small quantity after dinner, but that means even a small bottle lasts awhile.  It also kept very well in the fridge, without any noticeable flavor change during the week I had it open (I used an expanding stopper).

Most Similar to:  High quality ice ciders, which truthfully I haven’t tried too many of (as there aren’t many).  Compared to Eden’s Heirloom Blend and Northern Spy ice ciders, I found it to be slightly less complex (Northern Spy was the most complex, from being barrel aged) and slightly less warming/boozy on the finish.

Closing Notes:   This was another impressive cider from Eden Ice Cider.  However, I prefer their Heirloom Blend and especially Northern Spy, which both seemed a bit more complex (and the oak notes in Northern Spy were especially nice).  I look forward to trying more ciders from Eden in the future, such as their Windfall Orchard and Brandy Barrel aged Heirloom Blend ice ciders, and their aperitif ciders.  If anyone wants to know what I want for my birthday or Christmas, its definitely a subscription to their cider club, which sounds amazing with member-only releases, but is admittedly a bit spendy (but great for folks who would buy a lot of their ciders anyways as you get a 20% discount).

Have you tried Eden Ice Ciders?  What did you think?

Eden Northern Spy Barrel Aged Ice Cider

Review of Eden Ice Cider’s Northern Spy single varietal ice cider, barrel aged 12 months in French oak barrels, made in Newport VT.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden Ice 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:  Northern Spy
Cidery:  Eden Ice Cider
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  10.0%
Residual Sugar: 15%
How Supplied:  187ml & 375ml tall skinny glass bottles
Style:  American Northern Spy single varietal barrel aged ice cider

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Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia, also this one has less distribution than their Heirloom Blend.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  This Vermont Ice Cider is made from 100% Northern Spy apples, and aged in French oak barrels for a year. Northern Spy is an antique variety of apple that was one of the three most popular in America at the end of the 19th century. It has a sweetly tart flavor that is superbly enhanced by the oak. Spicy, with honey caramel under-tones, it is a wonderful after-dinner drink.  No added sugar, coloring or flavoring of any kind Concentration using natural Northern Vermont winter cold.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  n/a (retails for $20+ for 187ml and $30+ for 375ml)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this cider online.  I really enjoyed Eden’s Heirloom Blend ice cider I tried at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 and their Sparkling Dry and Sparkling Semi-Dry ciders, and since I love barrel aged ciders, I’ve had my eye on this barrel aged ice cider for awhile.  Its not sold in the Seattle area, so I was thrilled to get a box of three sample bottles from Eleanor.

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First Impression:  Still.  Deep caramel color.  Smells of rich ripe baked apples, residual sugar, higher ABV, brown sugar, burnt caramel, honey, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet to very sweet.  Low acidity, tartness, and tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Full bodied (a good kind of syrupy).  Concentrated intense full flavor notes of rich ripe baked apples, brown sugar, burnt caramel, honey, oak, vanilla, and a hint of spice.  Long warming finish.  High apple influence.  Mild to moderate barrel influence.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Amazing!  I enjoyed the barrel aged flavor of this ice cider.  Due to the sweetness this is definitely a beverage to sip only a small quantity after dinner, but that means even a small bottle lasts awhile.  It also kept very well in the fridge, without any noticeable flavor change during the week I had it open (I used an expanding stopper).

Most Similar to:  High quality ice ciders, which truthfully I haven’t tried too many of (as there aren’t many).  Compared to Eden’s Heirloom Blend, I found Northern Spy to be slightly less sweet and even more complex (such as the oak & vanilla notes from barrel aging).  Its my new favorite from them.

Closing Notes:   This was another impressive cider from Eden Ice Cider.  I’m really looking forward to trying the third sample bottle, a Honeycrisp ice cider.  Even after that I have a number of varieties from them left to try in the future, such as their Windfall Orchard and Brandy Barrel aged Heirloom Blend ice ciders, and their aperitif ciders.  If anyone wants to know what I want for my birthday or Christmas, its definitely a subscription to their cider club, which sounds amazing with member-only releases, but is admittedly a bit spendy (but great for folks who would buy a lot of their ciders anyways as you get a 20% discount).

Have you tried Eden Ice Ciders?  What did you think?

Eden Sparkling Semi-Dry

Review of Eden Ice Cider’s Sparkling Semi-Dry cider.  This is made using the traditional labor-intensive methode champenoise, which makes naturally sparkling cider.  I previously tried Eden’s Sparkling Dry cider, and this is described as the same cider (although made with different apple varieties) with a bit of their ice cider to add some additional sweetness (which also adds an additional 1% ABV).

I sampled this cider on New Year’s Eve, and it unfortunately turned out to be a poorly sealed bottle whose taste wasn’t as intended, and Eleanor at Eden was awesome enough to send me a sample bottle to replace it (and two ice ciders to review!).  Cider from the original bottle was nearly flat, and was on the dry, funky, and sour side….the cap must have been sealed enough so it wouldn’t leak, but allowed for air transfer.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden Ice 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.<<

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Cider:  Sparkling Semi-Dry
Cidery:  Eden Ice Cider
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  9.5%
How Supplied:  375ml or 750ml capped champagne bottle
Style:  American methode champenoise sparkling cider

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Availability: At least in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, British Columbia.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description: Eden Sparkling Ciders are made with locally grown apples. We use the same blend of traditional and heirloom apples that we use for our ice ciders, and then add classic Bittersweet cider varieties. True cider variety apples are sweeter and have much more tannin than eating apples.  They are pretty awful to eat so you won’t ever find them in a grocery store.   The Sparkling Dry is made with Kingston Black.  The Sparkling Semi-Dry is made with Dabinett and Yarlington Mill.

The cider is fermented and aged in French oak puncheons for a year, the bottles with a secondary fermentation that is created with additional juice rather than sugar.  After another 6 months each bottle is hand-disgorged in a careful process and removes the yeast but retains the vibrant natural effervescence of the in-bottle fermentation.  For our Semi-Dry, we add in a little bit of our ice cider for sweetness.

Eden Sparkling ciders are full-flavored, tannic, and clean with a champagne-like mouth feel and balanced acidity.  They are unfiltered and unpasteurized, with higher ABV and much less sweetness than mass marketed industrial hard ciders.

Cidery Description: Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  n/a, but retail price of $15-$20 (750ml)
Where Bought:  n/a (but originally the Schilling Cider House)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard about Eden on Facebook, met cidermaker Eleanor Leger at an event surrounding Cider Summit Seattle 2015 where I tried their Sparkling Dry cider, tried their Heirloom Blend cider at Cider Summit (and my husband bought me a bottle for our anniversary, reviewed here), and decided Semi-Dry would be a great New Year’s Eve cider selection.

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First Impression:  Honey-pumpkin light amber hue.  Moderate carbonation with tiny bubbles (even before opening the bottle, with a gentle shake, I could tell it had more carbonation than the first).  Smells luscious, of honey, tropical fruit, coconut, apricot, floral, and high-tannin cider apples (Dabinett and Yarlington Mill).

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tartness.  Moderate tannins.  Slight hints of bitterness, funk, and sourness.  Flavor notes of tropical fruit, apricot, peach, honey, and green apple.  Slight richness.  Moderate carbonation with a fizzy mouthfeel.  Medium bodied.  Moderate apple influence.  Mild oak barrel influence.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion: Yum!  It had a lovely flavor complexity–you could really taste the hint of ice cider in comparison to the Sparkling Dry.  The ice cider added both sweetness and additional flavor (especially tropical fruit).  My husband also really enjoyed it.  All in all I think this cider is awesome.  Its also a wonderful value, as the apple varieties are expensive, and the production method is labor-intensive.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had other methode champenoise ciders such as Finnriver’s Artisan Sparkling Brut Cider, but this one was less champagne-like (more fruitiness).  The tropical fruit notes also reminded me of ciders such as Eaglemount Quince and Slyboro Old Sin, except with added carbonation.

Closing Notes:   Eden Ice Cider really makes some amazing ciders.  I look forward to trying the Honeycrisp and Northern Spy (barrel aged) ice ciders Eleanor sent!

Have you tried Eden’s Sparkling Dry or Semi-Dry ciders?  What did you think?

Eden Heirloom Blend Ice Cider

Review of Eden’s Heirloom Blend Ice Cider.  I tried this at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 and fell in love.  The night before Cider Summit I actually got to meet the cidermaker Eleanor Leger, chat for awhile, and sample a glass of her Sparkling Dry cider, which is also awesome (notes here).  My husband bought me this bottle for our anniversary; its a bit of a splurge and not something I’d normally buy.

From Eden’s website:  Ice cider (also sold as apple ice wine) originated in Southern Quebec, and is a dessert wine made using apples which have been concentrated by natural winter cold.  Eden harvests apples from the trees at peak ripeness, puts them in cold storage until winter, presses them into juice, then sets the juice outdoors to freeze for 6-8 weeks.  The freezing & melting-off process concentrates the flavor and sugar of the apples.  The juice is then fermented over several weeks or months until the cider is cold stabilized, filtered, and bottled.  Ice cider is typically 8-11% ABV and 12-15% residual sugar (in contrast, typical criteria puts dry cider below 0.9%, medium at 0.9-4.0%, and sweet above 4.0% residual sugar).  The final amount of ice cider is typically less than 1/4 of the original amount of pressed juice, and it takes more than 8 pounds of apples to make just one 375ml bottle of ice cider.  All this substantiates the high cost of ice cider.  Here are photos of the process.

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Cider:  Heirloom Blend Ice Cider
Cidery:  Eden
Cidery Location:  West Charleston VT
ABV:  10%
How Supplied:  375ml tall clear glass bottle, corked (also available in some areas in 187ml bottles)

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Availability:  Year round in AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, WA D.C., and Canada.  See their list of distributors.

Cider Description:  This is our flagship product, now in its sixth vintage.  We’ve changed the name from ‘Calville’ to Heirloom to reflect more clearly the heritage and complexity of the the blend.  In addition to MacIntosh and Empire, Russets provide full-bodied sweetness, Calville Blanc and Esopus Spitzenburg provide acidity and citrus notes for balance, and Ashmead’s Kernel provides natural tannins for structure. Serve it with artisanal cheeses, game or dessert.

Apple varieties:  Empire, MacIntosh, Roxbury Russett, Calville Blanc, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Hudson’s Gem, Ashmead’s Kernel, Esopus Spitzenberg, Black Oxford, Belle de Boskoop, Reinettes

35 Brix after concentration, 10% ABV, 15% residual sugar, and 1.6% titratable acidity.  No added sugar, coloring or flavoring of any kind.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT, and can ship ciders to 23 states (see their full page on how to buy).  Their current product line includes at least four ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.

Price:  $30
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Rich deep amber-orange hue.  Completely still (no carbonation).  Smells of rich sweet ripe apples, caramelized sugar, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and honey.

Opinion:  Very sweet, but in a refined and well-crafted way.  Low acidity.  No to low tartness.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Mild tannins.  Very full bodied.  Medium finish length.  The same rich sweet ripe apples, caramelized sugar, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and honey notes continue to the flavor.  It is a tad alcohol-forward, but still tastes less than its 10% ABV.  Rich and full-flavored.  I tried it cold, room temperature, and warm, and enjoyed it best when very cold.  When warmer the flavors were dulled.

Most Similar to:  Other high quality ice ciders.  When buying an ice cider (or actually any cider), I’d recommend researching how the product is made.  For example, I’ve seen an imported product that retails for only $12 (instead of $20-$30 for 375ml) made from apple juice concentrate.  Its at least good to made an educated purchase.  Eden was the first to make ice cider in the U.S., but now other cideries make it, including Tieton (Frost), Eve’s (Essence), Newhall Farm, Slyboro (Ice Harvest), Sheldrake Point (Ice Apple Wine) and Angry Orchard (Iceman).  You can also find imported ice ciders in the U.S., including from Domaine Etienne Dupont (Givre), Domaine Pinnacle, and Neige.

Closing Notes:   Amazing!  I highly recommend Eden ice cider, as long as someone doesn’t mind a sweet beverage.  It isn’t intended to be drunk in large quantities, but instead small sips, such as with dessert.  This ice cider paired especially well with apple pie….mmmm.  This bottle easily lasted me a week, including sharing it with a couple other folks, and apparently can remain open in the fridge for quite awhile (I noticed no change in taste over that week, likely as it is still, high ABV, and high residual sugar).  I really want to try Eden’s barrel aged ice cider, Northern Spy, but it isn’t sold in WA yet.

Have you tried any ice cider?  What did you think?