Thursday, 4 October 2012

Lucky Duck Cider Company - Apple Cider

Lucky Duck Cider Company – Apple Cider
So what do you get when you cross a Marketer and an Osteopath? A weird door to door salesman offering medical advice perhaps? No, you strangely get Lucky Duck Cider the proud baby of Shane Capron and his partner Colby Kitchin (just to note, I had absolutely no idea what an Osteopath was before I looked it up!!). In 2010, they bit the bullet and the self confessed cider lovers delved into the art of cider making. With the help of some Winemaker intervention, the Lucky Duck Cider label was born and in February of this year it hit the shelves in Melbourne.

The crazy and quite hilarious marketing approach from Lucky Duck must be mentioned. Being a Tour de France fan, I was flabbergasted when I saw a duck running besides the peloton with a Lucky Duck Cider logo on his chest. Did it work? Well for their sake I hope so! Here’s the link and check it out for yourself Hilarious!!

The apple in question used for Lucky Duck is not commonly found in our larger supermarket chains in Australia. The Braeburn apple is thought to be a cross between Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith, and was developed in New Zealand back in the 50’s. The apple is noted for being strong in apple flavour with balanced sweetness, tartness and sharpness. All perfect characteristics for cider making. An interesting fact is the new Jazz apple which can be found in supermarkets, is a cross of Braeburn and Gala. Now that sounds like a good cider making apple!

To my surprise, the cider was a really pleasant golden orange colour. I was not expecting this, and am trying to work out in my head if it’s a Braeburn apple trait? This golden orange is much darker than many of the other Australian ciders I have tried recently. The carbonation was also kicking goals, being quite light and inoffensive. The nose immediately offered up a distinct sharp character, and that lifted the fresh apple aroma. The nose reminded me of the flesh of an apple, which is crisp and juicy. Subtle pear characters also lurked in the background. Secondary notes of yeastiness and creaminess also shone through offering up some complexing features. Overall, the aromas of this cider really offered up something new and different, and it was refreshing to see this.

The palate gave a great upfront apple character which was smacked down with immense sharpness. The mid palate was full with rich apple sweetness which was balanced with mouth watering crispness. This palate is not your typical thin, watery and super acidic example. You can tell the palate has been specifically crafted to ensure all the key elements are in balance. There is no evidence of any tannin or astringency in this apple variety. The only one outstanding feature which drew my attention was the alcohol, which made the back palate quite warm. The one characteristic of this cider which may be an issue is the beery/yeasty/malty after taste. The cider is purposely made with an ale yeast, as apposed to wild yeast or champagne yeast. This was done to help try and lengthen the mid palate and let the apple characters shine through. But this after taste may potentially leave a bad impression on cider drinkers who don’t drink much beer.      

In general, the cider really reminds me of a traditional vintage reserve cider from Herefordshire in England. Although it does lack the essential oak age and textural tannins from the cider apple, it does have the distinct sharp kick on the palate. I understand that this may not be for everyone, but try to appreciate what the Braeburn apples are actually contributing to the big picture. Remember the cultivar classification’s of traditional cider apples? To remind you it’s - sharp, bittersharp, sweet, and bittersweet. Well this eating apple I believe could unofficially fall into the category of sharp. The use of this apple variety needs to be commended, as it offers a new dimension to the Lucky Duck Cider which I have not seen in any other eating/dessert apple cider. I would love to see an oak aged, less stirred, farmhouse style of this variety too. Great effort from a couple of cider lovers who decided to give it a red hot go!
Producer: Lucky Duck Cider Company
Country: Australia (Melbourne, Victoria)
Alcohol: 5.4%

Rating: 7 out of 10

1 comment:

  1. went to buy the lovely swedish cider and saw cider made in melbourne, gave it a try and love it. will keep buying it