Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cider Review: Crispin Georgia

I've reviewed a fair number of Crispin Ciders and drunk a few more, but this is my first experience with any of their barrel aged limited releases. If you want to check out my previous Crispin post, you can find it here: I've also reviewed a few of their sister company Fox Barrel's perries, and

Crispin has a fantastic website: with gorgeous photos, recipes, and mixed drink ideas. They've clearly put tons of effort into their brand image and it shows. I wish more companies were as thoughtful in how they present their ciders as Crispin.

I don't know if you can forgive the cheese, but this official press release has tons of good information. It just presents in a way that's a bit over the top.
Let’s kick off this ride with the sweet goodness of Georgia peach juice.  Georgia peaches have a high quality combination of sugars, acidity, aromas and textures making it a seamless integration into the unpasteurized, fresh-pressed juice already being used in Crispin’s super premium artisanal ciders.

An elegant, spicy blend of Crispin’s Colfax Classic apple-wine superbly aged in bourbon American whisky barrels.  The final blend is finished with Georgia peach juice, a mention of mint and a touch of Tupelo honey, also aged in bourbon barrels.

Georgia offers a drinking experience and flavor profile like no other.  Georgia has full, rich whiskey notes right up front with smooth toasted oak and vanilla.  The peach juice provides a velvety lushness with a mere hint of mint to bring it all together.  This 6.78% (678 being a Georgia area code) alcohol by volume cider packs full flavor and full body.

So how might one enjoy this beverage? The optimal sip scenario for Georgia is at the cellar temperature of 50/55 F. Grab a snifter or a tulip glass and get ready for greatness. When pouring, use a solid bottoms-up tilt and swirl the bottle to disperse the sediment evenly. This unlocks the whiskey aromas and a unique bouquet.
This is nearly the first time, if not the very first time, that I've seen pouring instructions and glassware recommendations with a cider. Frankly I like it. It gives the cider even more of a sense of identity and tradition.

Appearance: Cloudy, nectarine, plenty of bubble

After pouring this cider, I noticed immediately how cloudy it looks. It is easy to be a casual cider fan and never see a truly cloudy cider, so let this picture illustrate. I couldn't tell how many fingers someone was holding up behind this cider. This cider shows off a gorgeous nectarine flesh color and lots and lots of visible bubbles. It looks like a meal.

Aromas: Asian pear, fresh apple, honey

So fruity! This cider is so cool and refreshing to smell. The Georgia begs for warmer temperatures, but even now it reminds me beautifully of summer with the ultra clean fruit notes of asian pear and fresh apple.  The honey is more understated but definitely supports the fruits. Upon repeated sniffs, this really reminds me of a light-bodied perry in aroma. Alex (my frequent co-taster and husband) noted a distinct aroma of caraway seeds. Interesting.

Sweetness: Semi-sweet/sweet?

It is difficult to decipher the level of sweetness in Crispin's Georgia. Ultimately, I think this is a sweet cider, but the flavors go so far beyond just fruits and sweetness that this measure is made much less meaningful for this particular cider. The sweetness is definitely not the dominant impression as I'm drinking it.

Flavors and drinking experience: crazy (minty), complex (honeyed) and fun (peachy)

The complexity on this cider truly overwhelms me. First, I taste the cool and delicate fruit, getting bolder. Mint hits the mid palate and intensifies at the finish. Crazy. Seriously. Certifiable. I keep drinking it, and I keep being surprised by a few of the notes. The peach isn't overly strong and it melds well with the whisky. I like the honey and the mint. I'm not sure the Georgia needs to have all four notes, because, in the end, it becomes a mixed drink more than a cider. That said, I'd love to see this divided into two summery ciders, a whisky peach and a honey mint. Even so, as an intense punch this is a lovely drink.

 I'm enjoying this with an old fashioned fish fry, cole slaw, and some sweet cooked carrots. It is a lot of flavors, but it works. The Georgia is a summer time drink; for me, it reminds me of summer because December in upstate New York is a far cry from summer. I think this cider would work best as a summer picnic cider. Use the cooling mint when you really need it.