Perry Tasting Notes

There was recently a perry tasting at my house (thanks Sarah, Merce, and Kevin from Cider Log for sharing!).  I took a few tasting notes.  Note that perry is similar to cider, but made from pears, no apples.  [In contrast to pear cider, which in the U.S. is often an apple cider with some pear juice/flavor added.]

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We didn’t end up opening every bottle, so we’ll need to have a perry tasting part 2!  Our dinner pairing was pizza, which worked surprisingly well.

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Dragon’s Head (Vashon Island WA) Methode Champenoise Perry (6.3% ABV), $29 / 750ml:  This is a special release of Dragon’s Head’s Perry, which was made in Methode Champenoise, a labor-intensive traditional way of making a naturally sparkling cider.  It was made from Taylor’s Gold and heirloom seedling Vashon Island pears .  High carbonation.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of pear juice & skin, floral, and honey.  I enjoyed it, although it was very mildly flavored.  It would be a nice champagne alternative, albeit pricey (this was by far the most expensive bottle we opened).

Oliver’s (Herefordshire England) Herefordshire Perry (6.9% ABV), price unknown:  This is an English bottle-conditioned perry made from perry pears.  Smells very funky.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low sourness.  Moderate funk.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  Pear-forward and floral.  I enjoyed it.

Hogan’s (Alcester, England) Vintage Perry 2010 (5.4% ABV), ~$10 / 500ml:  This is another English perry made from perry pears.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Hints of sourness, funk, tannins & bitterness.  Low tartness & acidity.  Pear-forward, rich, and nutty.  I really enjoyed it.

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Mission Trail (Bradley CA) Perry (6.0% ABV), price unknown:  This perry was made from Bartlett pears, and claims to be the only true perry (not pear cider) made in California.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness & acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pear, stone fruit, and honey.  I liked it, but this was the most “commercial” / pear cider type tasting of the group.

Viuda de Angelon (Asturias Spain) Sidra de Pera (5.2% ABV), $4 / 11.2oz:  This is a Spanish perry.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, frothy.  Hints of sourness & funk (less so than most Spanish ciders).  Low to moderate tartness & acidity.  Pear-forward with notes of apricot.  I liked it.

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Sea Cider (Saanichton B.C. Canada) Perry (6.5% ABV), $18 / 750ml:  This is a Canadian perry made from perry pears.  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Very light kinda weird flavor, more floral & herbal than pear.  I think this was a bit of an off bottle though, as it was infected with scobies.  I’ll have to give it another try sometime.

AEppelTreow (Burlington WI) Perry (7.5% ABV), $12 / 750ml:  This is a Methode Champenoise perry made from Comice, Bosc, and Bartlett pears.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness & tannins.  Tastes exactly like champagne, no pear, but juicy, plus notes of stone fruit and honey.  I enjoyed it, although it was not what we were expecting.  Also a nice champagne alternative, and an excellent value for Methode Champenoise.

The day after the group tasting I opened up my bottle of Samuel Smith’s perry, as it was already in the fridge.

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Samuel Smith’s (Tadcaster, England) Organic Perry (5.0 ABV), $3 / 12oz:  This is another English perry, and Organic, but the most commercial (ingredient list included water, pear extract, malic acid, etc).  Semi-sweet.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  No pear flavor, but notes of apple, apricot & other stone fruit, and honey (if I tasted it blind I’d call it cider, not perry).  I liked this, although it was definitely commercial tasting, and the sweetest option.

Our favorite was the Hogan’s (also an excellent value, under $10 I believe).  Our least favorite was the Sea Cider.  The most surprising was the AEppeltreow, as it was the least perry-like.

I’ve also previously tried these perries: Dan Armor Poire, Pear UP Half Past Prudent, Pear UP Cherry Perry, Pear UP Watermelon Perry, Pear UP Watermelon Raspberry Perry, Pear UP Raspberry PerryDomaine Pacory Poire Domfront, Dunkertons Organic Perry, Eaglemount Perry, Locust Seckel PerryNashi Orchards Asian Pear Chojuro Blend PerryNashi Orchards Island Harvest Perry, Portland Cider Pearfect Perry, Snowdrift Perry, Snowdrift Seckel Perry, Tieton Sparkling Perry, WildCraft Pioneer Perry, WildCraft Elderberry Perry, and William’s Sir Perry

Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré Poire

Review of Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré Poire, a French perry (made entirely from pears, no apples).  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve previously tried Dan Armor’s cidre.  I’ve also sampled some other French poires:  Christian Drouin PoireDomaine Pacory Poire Domfront, and Eric Bordelet Poire Authentique (plus an American French-style poire,  E.Z. Orchards Poire).

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Cider:  Poire
Cidery:  Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidré
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  French Poire (perry)

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Availability:  wide release at Trader Joe’s, since early 2017 (imported by Lattitude Wines, Danville CA)

Cider Description:  Cider made from fresh pears grown in the northwest of France, slowly fermented to create refreshing aromas and sweet flavors.  No sugar was added to this well-balanced cider and it is gluten-free.

Price:  $4.99
Where Bought:  Trader Joe’s
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had previously tried Dan Armor’s cider, and saw this for the first time.  At $5 it was an easy buy.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of syrupy sweet pear.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet (15g sugar / 8oz).  Medium to full bodied, with a smooth, creamy, and fizzy texture.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of canned pear, dried pear, and hints of pineapple & floral.  High pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this.  However, it was definitely on the commercial and easy to drink side, with less complexity than the other poires I’ve had (which admittedly have been from top cidermakers and high end prices to match).

Most Similar to:  Christian Drouin Poire (also semi-sweet and very pear-forward, but slightly more refined tasting and complex)

Closing Notes / random thoughts:   (1) Perry has significant unfermentable sugars, so even if completely fermented, it remains significant residual sugar (vs. cider, which with the right yeast will ferment to zero residual sugar).  Therefore you won’t see a dry perry.  Most are semi-sweet.  (2) Here in the U.S., typically the word perry should only be used if the beverage is only made from pears, and the term pear cider if it is an apple cider with pear juice.  However, often pear ciders are mistakenly called perries.  (3) I typically prefer French-style Poire to American perry.  Probably as many of the American perries I’ve had have been funky, and poire often has a really nice texture and complexity while remaining clean.  There have been a handful of American perries I have enjoyed though, like Locust Seckel Perry, Snowdrift Seckel Perry, and fruity perries from Pear UP (formerly NV Cider).

Have you tried French perry (poire)?  What did you think?

Dunkertons Organic Perry

Review of Dunkertons Organic Perry from England.  Perry is only made from pears (no apples).  I previously tried their Dry Organic cider.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Dunkertons.  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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Product:  Organic Perry
Cidery:  Dunkertons
Location:  Pembridge, Leominster, United Kingdom
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Organic English perry

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Availability:  Dunkertons is just becoming available in the U.S. for the first time, so its probably not in stores quite yet, but look for it at finer bottle shops in the future (distributed through Winesellers, Ltd.).

Product Description:  A delicious sparkling Perry made from organically grown, Perry pears. Though relatively uncommon, the trees are easily identified in Herefordshire’s orchard landscape by their great height and cascading white blossom; some are over 300 years old. These mature trees can very often produce over a ton of Pears. Using a traditional press and mill (circa 1930) the cider is carefully made using time honored methods. Each variety of cider pear is fermented separately, stored and then blended a year after pressing.

It pours golden and slightly hazy with very gentle bubbles. The nose has over-ripe pear evanescence. The taste is buttery & biscuity with notes of peaches plus a touch of farmyard. A creamy mouthfeel with a good balance between initial sweetness and the dryness of the finish.

Pear Varieties:  Merrylegs, Red Horse, Moorecroft, Painted Lady, and Thorn

Cidery Description:  We make premium award winning organic cider and perry at our Cider Mill in Herefordshire.  Our success is down to our unique blending method using traditional varieties of organic cider apples and pears grown in our own orchards. We started making our ciders and perry in 1980.  We only ever use the finest tasting traditional varieties of certified organic apples and pears. It is this careful selection of fruit that gives our drinks the delicate and aromatic characteristics required to be award winning.

Price:  $9 retail
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow, slightly hazy.  Low carbonation.  Smells of sour citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, slightly syrupy.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate sourness.  Low bitterness, funk, and tannins.  Notes of citrus (lemon and grapefruit), mineral, white grape, pear, and floral.  Long warming sour finish.  Moderate sessionability, pear flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  Well crafted and a good value.  It wasn’t to my personal tastes though due to the slight sourness.  However, I shared it with a few friends who tends towards liking sour ciders and they really enjoyed it.

Fun Facts:  Its often said to plant pears for your heirs, as it can take decades for a pear tree to bear fruit.  Also, perries don’t ferment fully dry like ciders can, as pears have unfermentable sugars (such as sorbitol), contributing to a higher residual sweetness.  More info on perry here.

Most Similar to:  WildCraft Cider Works Pioneer Perry, although more sweet and less sourness.  It had a subtle complexity similar to E.Z. Orchards Poire and Nashi Orchards Chojuro Blend.

Closing Notes:   Next up, Dunkertons Black Fox.

Have you tried Dunkertons Perry?  What did you think?

Portland Cider Company Strawperry

Review of Portland Cider Company’s Strawperry, a perry (made from 100% pears, no apples) with strawberries.  This is a summer seasonal for them (2nd year).  I’ve previously tried a number of their ciders; see here.

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>>This is a review of a sample provided to Cider Says by the Portland Cider Company.  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:  Strawperry
Cidery:  Portland Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  draft only
Style:  American craft perry (made from 100% pears) with fresh strawberries

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Availability:  Summer seasonal, limited release, draft only.  In general, their ciders are available in Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado (see here), but this draft-only cider likely has less availability then their bottled varieties.

I have been able to determine it is currently on tap at least at the following places:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA, Portland Cider House (Hawthorne Portland OR), Portland Cider Company Taproom (Clackamas Portland OR),  Liberty Tapworks (Dalles OR), Oly Taproom (Olympia WA), and The Growlerie (Beaverton OR).

Cider Description:  With a base of our award-winning 100% pear juice Perry, we have blended NW strawberries to create a delicate, delightful cider for the summer.

Cidery Description:  Drink it, it’s good!  Portland Cider Company was started in the fall of 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing handcrafted cider in the English tradition to the northwest. We don’t use concentrates, flavorings, colorings, or anything you wouldn’t want in your cider.  We just use the finest Northwest grown fruit. Always gluten free.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light pink-orange hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, fruity and tart.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, kiwi, and honey.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This is a great summer cider…fruity and sessionable (low ABV and easy to drink).

Most Similar to:  I’ve had two strawberry ciders, from Bull Run (Strawberry Fields) and Cider Brothers (William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry).  I find this similar to the Bull Run Strawberry Fields, except Strawberry Fields had a more intense flavor, and Strawperry is more complex.  I also find Strawperry similar to Atlas Dragonfruit, which also had strawberry & kiwi notes (but also a weird bitterness).

Random Side Note:  This cider holds the record as my most unique sample so far…I received it in a recycled swing-top bottle (its draft only so they didn’t have a typical capped & labeled bottle) and picked it up locally.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got a chance to try Strawperry–its a unique summer sipper.  I think this is one of my favorite Portland Cider Company ciders so far, along with their London Dry Gin.

Have you tried Portland Cider Strawperry?  What did you think?

NV Cider Watermelon Hard Pear Cider (Perry)

Review of NV Cider’s Watermelon Hard Pear Cider.  Its actually a perry as no apples were used, but I imagine they called it a pear cider as a lot of folks don’t know what perry is.  I’ve tried a few varieties from them before; see here.

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Cider:  Watermelon Hard Pear Cider
Cidery:  NV Cider (Neigel Vintners)
Cidery Location:  East Wenatchee WA
ABV:  5.3%
How Supplied:  500ml green Aluminum bottle
Style:  American craft perry with watermelon extract

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Availability:  WA and OR; see here.

Cider Description:  This is a perry made using native pear varieties from East Wenatchee, with watermelon extract.  Note that they refer to it as a pear cider, but that is typically reserved for beverages made from both apples and pears, often fermented apple juice with pear juice added afterwards.

Cidery Description:  Neigel Vintners is a family affair.  Our cider company is run on our family property.  Some of the first pears we press each year come off of remnants of the first pears planted by the family.  Over 100 years old, these trees have had their heart-wood rot out and survived. There are several places a person can reach through the center of the tree with a hand. These trees have been a staple of the property for generations.

Price:  $5
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow with hints of pink.  Low carbonation.  Smells of fresh sweet watermelon, pear, and white grape.  The watermelon scent is quite strong at first but quickly dissipates.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low carbonation.  Low tartness but it has some bite.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pear, watermelon, white grape, strawberry, and rhubarb.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Low flavor intensity/fruitiness.

My Opinion:  This was tasty, but it left me wanting more watermelon flavor.  Right after opening it had an awesome strong watermelon scent, but that diminished.  I know that watermelon juice isn’t very flavorful, but I think this would have been a great cider to leave fairly unfiltered, which likely would have made it easier to get the watermelon flavor.

Most Similar to:  NV Cider’s Cherry Perry, which was also a fruity perry (see my tasting notes here).  That one had a nice unfiltered aspect to it though, which I think helped add to the complexity.  I like watermelon more than cherry, but I think the Cherry was pulled off better.  The Cherry Perry was also sweeter, so I think that helped make it seem more flavorful.

Closing Notes:   I’m a huge watermelon fan, and although the flavor intensity was a bit lacking, it was an enjoyable perry.  I look forward to seeing what else they come up with.

Have you tried any perries?  What did you think?

EZ Orchards Poire

Review of EZ Orchards’ Poire, a French-style perry.  Note that perry (made only from pears) varies from pear cider (made from apples & pears).  I’ve tried a few varieties from them–Semi Dry, Roman Beauty, Hawk Haus.

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Cider:  Poire
Cidery:  EZ Orchards
Cidery Location:  Rickreall OR
ABV:  5.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle
Style:  French-style perry made from heirloom & dessert pear varieties

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Availability:  As seasonally available / while supplies last, at least in OR, WA, IL, and NY.

Cider Description:  Poire is named from the French word for “pear”, and is completely appropriate, natural and perfect for this uniquely delicious drink. EZ Orchards Poire is made entirely from estate-grown Forelle, Comice and Bosc winter pears—no apples. The fruit is carefully cleaned, milled and pressed. No yeast is added to the juice and no sulfites are added. Naturally-occurring yeasts are allowed to ferment over months at low temperatures. Finally, when the sugars are depleted—or nearly so—Poire is bottled and allowed to mature and condition. Like all EZ Orchards cider and cidre, it is never released until it is ready.

Cidery Description:  The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.

E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.

They use traditional French cider making methods–pressing their apples in a rack and cloth press, fermenting with wild yeast in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 4-6 months, and bottling before fermentation is complete to allow secondary fermentation to take place in the glass.

Price:  ~$9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I remembered that although I haven’t had much luck with enjoying American perries, I have liked a couple French poires, so I thought I’d give it a try.

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation with tiny bubbles.  Smells of juicy pear, mango, pineapple, lemon, mineral, and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Frothy and creamy texture.   Moderate carbonation (more than visibly apparent).  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  A hint of tannins.  A hint of bitterness.  No sourness.  No funk.  Notes of juicy pear, mango, pineapple, lemon, mineral, and vanilla.  Compared to the scent, the pear was less intense and the tropical & citrus were more intense.  Moderate length finish.  Mild pear intensity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Refreshing for summer, with subtle complexity, and wine-like qualities.  I liked it, as did my husband.  This is the first American perry I’ve truly enjoyed.  Oddly enough I tend more towards pear ciders, as they typically are more flavorful (although less complex), although neither perry or pear cider is a favorite of mine.

Most Similar to:  Nashi Orchards Chojuro Blend Asian Pear Perry (it was also complex, wine-like, and semi-dry, although it had some sourness & funk).  The style of Poire seemed in between that of the American and French perries I’ve tried…the American Snowdrift Perry for example had a low flavor intensity, less complexity, and some bitterness…the French perry Domaine Pacory Poire Domfront for example was sweeter, richer, and higher carbonation.  Although this perry remained fairly dry, it was complex.

Closing Notes:   This was enjoyable.  Roman Beauty (cider) remains my favorite from EZ Orchards though.  I look forward to trying more from them–I think the only variety I haven’t tried is their Dry.

Have you tried EZ Orchards Poire?  What did you think?

Nashi Orchards Asian Pear Perry 2013 – Chojuro Blend

Review of Nashi Orchards’ Chojuro Blend Asian Pear Perry.  Note that true perry is a fermented beverage made only from pears.  In contrast, pear cider is typically apple cider back sweetened with pear juice.  Pear cider will typically be sweeter and have a stronger pear flavor, but perry is more traditional.

Nashi Orchards specializes in perry, especially from asian pears, and Chojuro Blend is their flagship product.  The word “Nashi” in Japaenese means “pear” by the way.  This is my first time trying their perry, although I sampled one of their ciders at a tasting event with Bill Bradshaw last summer at Capitol Cider during Washington Cider Week (tasting notes on Issho Ni “Together” cider here).

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Cider:  Asian Pear Perry 2013 – Chojuro Blend
Cidery:  Nashi Orchards
Cidery Location:  Vashon Island WA
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  187ml (6.2oz) clear glass bottle
Style:  American perry made from Chojuro and Olympic varieties of Asian pears

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Availability:  Limited to the greater Vashon Island, Seattle, and Tacoma areas of WA.  Nashi self-distributes to independent bottle shops, tap rooms, and fine restaurants in WA.  They also welcome visitors to their orchard and tasting room on Vashon Island.  Chojuro Blend is their most widely distributed perry.  They usually offer an additional 3 or 4 other perries and ciders at a time, some of which are small batch and only available directly through them.

Cider Description:  Our signature Chojuro Perry is lightly effervescent with a floral aroma, exhibits flavors of bright summer fruit and pear, and has a clean refreshing finish. Serve it as an aperitif or with NW oysters, halibut and turkey. We carefully control fermentation to preserve some of the natural sweetness, use 100% juice pressed at our winery and never add sugar or flavorings.

Cidery Description:  PASSIONATELY PURSUING DELICIOUS LIBATIONS.  Nashi Orchards uses sustainable practices to grow the finest Asian Pears and handcraft perry and hard cider. Our orchard and winery is located on beautiful Vashon Island, Washington where we are a part of a growing community of committed producers of artisanal foods, wines and spirits.

Additional Information: Jim Gerlach from Nashi was awesome enough to respond to my request for more info with some amazing detailed notes–thanks!

The Chojuro Asian Pear Perry is a blend of two varieties of Asian pear. The Chojuro pears are grown in our orchard on Vashon Island and are an orange bronze colored fruit with flavors of butterscotch. It is also called “the rum pear”.  The second asian pear is a Korean Giant, also called Olympic. We source these from Kiyokawa Orchards in Hood River. It is a very late pear and likes a bit more heat than we get in Puget Sound. Both pears benefit from extended maturation to bring out the flavors and aromatics. This extended maturation process also serves to convert some of the simple sugars into complex sugars which do not ferment and this provides a bit of residual sweetness. I would describe it as off-dry .

We typically ferment the varieties separately using different yeasts and do bulk blending in the spring after fermentation is complete. We like Epernay2 and DV10 for a clean expression of the fruit and use sake yeast on a portion of the batch to provide improved mouthfeel and complexity. 
In response to my question on perry from asian vs. other pear varieties:  The flavors are similar but I would say that the flavor and aroma of asian pear perry is a bit more floral and delicate.
Traditional european perry pears (Pyrus domestica) may have tannin and commercially available asian pears do not. Tannins will provide some structure as well as astringency and/or bitterness. That being said we have access to a trial orchard of Asian Pears (pyres pyrifolia) and have found varieties with massive amounts of tannins.  We are excited to propagate these and add these to our orchard.
The acidity of some Asian pears is thought to be quite low and this creates the need to blend or add acid to create an appropriate pH for fermentation. Most of the varieties of pears from our orchard have a relatively low pH. This is because we only irrigate as much as necessary to maintain tree health. More water in the fruit equals less flavor and less acidity. 
Storage, milling and pressing of Asian Pears is much easier than with European pears. European and perry pears are notoriously fickle in terms of ripening and can go from hard as a marble to slime in a matter of days. As I mentioned before, a long maturation process is key to extracting as much flavor as possible from the fruit. Asian Pears store for long periods of time, and mill and press quite readily. Some European pears can be very slimy and difficult to press without aids such as enzymes or rice hulls. 
Thanks again to Jim at Nashi for sharing all that awesome detailed info on this perry, asian pears, and their orchard!

Price:  $6.50
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  The cute bottle caught my attention.  Once at home it sat for quite a few months however as I didn’t find the right time to drink it (with such a small bottle it was more of an aperitif), but lately I’ve been trying to drink some of my oldest ciders, so into the fridge and into the glass it went.

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  Light carbonation & foam.  Smells of pear (light), vanilla, spice, sour citrus, floral, and wild yeasr / funk.  Drank chilled.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light sourness, funk, tartness, and bitterness.  Mild to moderate acidity.  Very mild flavored in general, but complex.  The primary notes I picked up were pear and citrus, with some honey, floral, and vanilla.  I also found it quite wine-like.  Light bodied.  Medium length finish.  Moderate sessionability.  I found it a touch alcohol-forward (warming), despite its mild flavor & body.

My Opinion:  Although I think it was wonderfully complex and well-crafted, this perry wasn’t really to my tastes.  I enjoy full-flavored ciders, yet similar to most other perries I’ve tried, the flavor of this one remained mild.  It was nice to try it though.  Oddly enough I would have guessed wild yeast was used due to the mild amount of funk, but it sounds like they used some unique fermentation techniques and yeast, so that probably explains what I picked up.

Most Similar to:  Other perries and off-dry white grape wine (although I have no grape wine experience so I can’t be more specific than that…and I specify grape wine as cider & perry are actually classified as types of wine, which doesn’t technically only mean grape).  The level of funk seemed in between that of for example Snowdrift Perry (almost non existent) and WildCraft (mild to moderate, although Pioneer Perry was less so than the Elderberry Perry).  My favorite perry so far is Pear Essentials from Neigel Vintners (NV Cider), likely as it is sweeter and has a more intense pear flavor (as it is back sweetened), although I’ve also had their Half Past Prudent which was drier & milder.  Back sweetening perry (and cider) isn’t traditional, but is a technique that is quite common, as its the easiest way to get a sweeter beverage which is fruit-forward.  I don’t mind dry, but I prefer full-flavored, which often doesn’t occur with drier ciders & perries.

Closing Notes:   I don’t think I truly appreciate perry…I have found perries to have a lot of qualities similar to white wine, which I also don’t care for.  It was a nice aperitif though, and I’m glad I got to try it.  I’d recommend this perry for folks looking for something unique and local.  I think especially in summer it would be tasty.

Have you tried any true perries?  What did you think?