Kite & String Royal Cider

Review of Kite & String’s Royal Cider, ice cider fortified with apple brandy then oak barrel aged.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Baldwin and Honeoye.

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Cider:  Royal Cider
Cidery:  Kite & String (Finger Lakes Cider House)
Cidery Location:  Interlaken NY
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft barrel-aged brandy-fortified ice cider

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Availability:  limited, probably only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Fortified desert cider. A cold concentrated ice cider partially fermented then blended with a young apple brandy. Aged briefly in American oak. Deeply textured layers of caramel and vanilla balanced with refreshing acidity. Unfiltered and unfined.

Cidermaker’s Notes:  Following a passion for port wines, Royal Cider was born.  Beginning with a a high acid blend of heirloom apples cold concentrated in the winter of 2015 to 40+ brix. Fermented to 13% ABV then fermentation was arrested via fortification with apple brandy to 18% ABV. Then barrel aged to soften the edges and allow the brandy to settle in. Naturally clarifying, requiring no filtration.

Apple Varieties:  Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Honeycrisp, & Baldwin

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun.  ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York.  Please come visit us in the tasting room any time of year.

Price:  $28
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  online discussion

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First Impression:  Medium caramel amber hue.  No carbonation.  Smells sweet, high ABV, and of caramel & spice.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich baked apple, caramel,  vanilla, and spice.  Long warm finish.  High apple flavor, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  More ice cider than Pommeau.

Most Similar to:  ice cider + a bit of Pommeau

Closing Notes:  I think Eden ice ciders are still my favorite so far.  My favorites from Eden are are The Falstaff and Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom.

Have you tried Kite & String Royal Cider?  What did you think?

 

Woodbox Double Barrel Ice Cider

Review of Woodbox’s Double Barrel Ice Cider.  I first tried this at Cider Rite of Spring (see here), but this time I am doing a full review of a bottle.  By the way, ice cider is made by using freezing temperatures to naturally concentrate the flavor and sugar content in apple juice before fermenting it.

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Cider:  Double Barrel Ice Cider
Cidery:  Woodbox
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  12.7%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft ice cider, whiskey barrel aged

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Availability:  In general their ciders are sold in parts of Oregon and Washington (see here), but this may be more limited.

Cider Description:  Layers of sweet and tart, bourbon and vanilla with hints of oak and dark caramel, this cider is meant for sipping. Cryoconcentrated to four times its normal strength, the juice is fermented then aged in whiskey barrels for six months giving it an irresistible bourbon kick, with alluring aromatics and a long warming finish.

Cidery Description:  Woodbox Cider was started [in 2015] by the Thierfelder brothers and their mother, Mama Gibson. We’re a family owned and operated boutique cidery. We source all our apples locally, from our home state of Oregon and production happens in Portland’s very own Northeast quadrant. We’re pretty stoked to present you with several, signature cider blends that are becoming famous for their unapologetically bone dry flavor profiles.

Price:  $17
Where Bought:  Cider Rite of Spring in Portland Oregon (2017)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  tasting at the event

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First Impression:  Medium caramel amber hue.  Still.  Smells of sweet caramelized baked apple, spice, whiskey, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Full bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, baked apple, spice, whiskey, oak, leather, and orange.  Long finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  High flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I remember liking it more at the event.  That always seems to happen to me when trying a cider for a second time, even at home when I haven’t had other ciders first (its especially common when I buy a single bottle and like it, then pick up a six pack and am not as impressed).  This time around it was a bit more dry and tart than I remembered.  However, it is still a really tasty dessert cider, an excellent value, and impressive for their first ice cider release.  This is significantly drier than most other ice ciders, so I imagine it may appeal to folks who typically find ice ciders too sweet.

Most Similar to:  Eden Specialty Ciders’ Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom and Northern Spy ice ciders (which I prefer; however, both cost almost twice as much and are much sweeter)

Closing Notes:  Its great to see a local ish producer making ice cider, as it is still relatively rare in the cider world, and as far as I know, has only been made in the U.S. for about a decade.

Have you tried ice cider?  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).

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>>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

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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

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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 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 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

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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 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

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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, 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?

Tieton Cider Works Frost Ice Cider

Review of Frost ice cider from Tieton Cider Works.  I’ve tried several ice ciders before (see here), and have tried most of Tieton’s lineup (see here).

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Cider:  Frost (ice cider)
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  11%
How Supplied:  375ml tall clear glass bottles, corked
Style:  American craft ice cider made from dessert apples (see here for a description of the ice cider process)

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Availability: AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, ID, IL, MI, MT, NM, NJ, OH, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY, and B.C. Canada.  Also, online sales to OR and WA.

Cider Description:  Our autumn harvest blend of Jonagold, Pinova and Winter Banana apples produces a pale straw cider that is expressive and floral with a pleasing sweetness.

Enjoy this cider at room temperature as an aperitif, as a cocktail base or the perfect finish to any meal.  Our friends at Simple and Crisp asked Sharon to come up with a recipe for their product. Apple Crisps from Simple and Crisp topped with Tieton Farm & Creamery Bianca cheese and drizzled with honey. This recipe works as an appetizer or a dessert, which is why we love it.

Cidery Description:  We are continually asked: how did you get into the cider business?  The answer is easy: we were in the apple growing business. Period. If we had not been a farming family, cider would not have held an interest.

The fruit that is used in Tieton Cider Works cider comes from Craig and Sharon Campbell’s Harmony Orchards. This land has been in our family since the 1920’s when our grandfather planted his first trees in Tieton, Washington. We take our stewardship of the land seriously and have been farming organically for the last 25 years…

A love of land, food and drink has inspired us to make cider with the fruit we are growing at our ranch, Harmony Orchards.  We know the ciders we make are an expression of the harvest and reflective of the fruit and the place that it is grown.  We are thrilled to be involved in re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  $25
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I love ice cider, and hadn’t tried this one.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow / light amber hue.  Completely still (no carbonation).  Smells rather mild for ice cider, of sweet apple juice, honey, and apricots.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  A hint of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, apricot, mango, and caramelized sugar.  Moderate length boozy finish.  High apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  (Note that against the bottle’s advice, I drank it cold, as that is what I prefer.)

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this, but I like Eden’s ice ciders much better, with their greater complexity (especially their barrel aged Northern Spy).  For $5 extra per bottle I think its worth it.

Most Similar to:  This is quite different from the other ice ciders I’ve tried, as it isn’t as full bodied, sweet, or complex.  Also, it was more fruity than rich (most other ice ciders I’ve tried had notes of caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla).  Its probably closest to Pomme De Coeur ice cider.

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got a chance to try this.  I think it is a nice summery ice cider, as it wasn’t as rich or complex, and was lighter bodied and fruity.

Have you tried Tieton Frost?  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 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?