My idle thoughts turned to pondering one of the great imponderables of the cider world. Just what will be the next great 'Phenomemon' in cider drinking! Hmm!
How about the tropical isle of Barbados?...
...or maybe the Peat and Sea-spray of rugged Islay?
What about sun-baked Jerez?
|Spirit Casks at Broome Farm, Ross-on-Wye|
Maturing cider in ex-distillery casks can add a whole new dimension to their contents. At its best, it can produce an award-winning cider such as the Rum-tinged beauty from Green Valley I tasted at a festival last year. But the practice also divides opinion amongst cider drinkers. Whiskey character is definitely an acquired taste, and in my opinion more of a clash of flavours than one of harmony. Rum character on the other hand is generally seen as being very complementary to the taste of a good cider, particularly those made from bittersweet cider apples. But even Rum Cask Ciders have their detractors, and as with most things in cidermaking, a light touch often produces the best results. A full-on Rum character can swamp the flavour of even the most robust ciders, and in my opinion the delicate flavour of perries do not stand up to the addition of any spirit character.
So a little bit of controversy too, which is of course even better for the flash suits in the marketing dept.
Now this got me thinking. We've been a little slow with previous cider phenomenons, and I don't want to get left behind with this one. I'm confident that the Gaudy Marketing Bandwagon is being hooked-up to the Wild Stallions of Passing Fashion even as I sit here writing this, so we're jumping on right now before all the good seats are taken. Now we don't have any spirit casks, and have no intention of getting any (I don't really like spirit cask ciders to be honest...), but that isn't going to stop us developing our very own Rum 'Character' Cider. At the risk of squandering our solid-gold marketing advantage, here's how we've done it:
We're calling this latest potential Cash-Cow our Rockingham Forest Little Rum 'Un Cider, which we think accurately reflects its almost total lack of 'Heritage', 'Authenticity', and other things which sound good in the trade magazines. I'm afraid that if you want to try this unique 'Limited Edition' cider (ooh! that sounds good too), you'll have to be quick. A single bottle will be available for tasting at the Derby CAMRA Cider Bar tomorrow afternoon. Get it while you can.