Saturday, 27 September 2014

Willie Smiths Organic Cider - Bone Dry

Oh Willie, Willie Willie, we meet again. No, that is not a euphemism either, so get your minds out of the gutter! The last time Willie Smiths graced All About Cider, they score the one and only top marks which I have awarded. The cider showed unbelievable quality and style for a dessert apple cider. I remember being blown away, and it showed good cider can be made from the humble dessert. How they could make it taste like a good quality Norman Cidre was beyond me. I was hooked! So now WSOC have released their lasted addition ‘Bone Dry’. When I say ‘latest addition’, that’s not to say it’s new. The cider has been out for quite some time, but I have only got my hands on some now! Hint hint Sam!
So it says on the cider label that this new release was inspired by Sam and Rowl’s trip to England and France. I guess they were drinking lots of Norman Brut! I have heard whispers Rowl has now moved on as Cider Maker which is a shame. The label also points out the cider was aged in oak for three months – now that’s what I like. I am confident that this Bone Dry is just Willie Smiths Organic Cider (white label), without any apple juice added back for sweetening. Essentially a base cider aged in oak for three months. Could be wrong, call it a hunch.
So the cider pours very low in carbonation which is a huge tick. Perfect for this style. The colour is a lovely golden straw too. Happy days. So what do you expect to see from a dry? Sugar adds body and weight to a cider, hence the sweet one's are fatter with more substance. Dry ciders don’t have this luxury. Building layers of flavour and texture are key in my mind. Definitely some oak age, LOTS of lees stirring etc.

The nose in true Willie Smiths fashion is dominated by oxidised red apple notes. Some lovely spiced apple characters also shine through. There is a touch of older oak, yet also a fungal/mouldy note too – not saying this is a bad thing. It’s quite earthy in stature, and quite complex. Tick.  

Unfortunately for me, the palate is a little of a letdown. It definitely shows a likeable softness with some green apple flavours. However, the flavour is a touch lacklustre and fades to a twangy sour finish. I do enjoy the powdery tannin which adds texture, and also the apple seed like bitterness. I would liken this more to an English Scrumpy when it comes to style, as I find it’s quite wild and untamed. The hot alcohol would also suggest this too. I guess what I would love to see here is some more apple punch, and some more added layers. The best way to describe the palate is it lacks a little personality. Still totally and utterly drinkable.  
All in all, a solid effort. I am not sure how the fanatical Willie Smiths fans would go with the Bone Dry against the original cider. Happy to be proven wrong. Again, the nose takes me to Normandy and I love that about Willie Smiths. I am still a huge fan of this producer and put them in my top 5 in Australia.

Producer: William Smiths and Son’s
Country: Australia (Huon Valley, Tasmania)
Alcohol: 6.8%

Rating: 14 out of 20


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