Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cider Review: Original Sin Hard Cider's Premium Apple Cider

Lately, I've been a very social creature, and this means going out to restaurants and bars with friends for conversation and merriment. Fun, yes? Yes! But, this isn't always easy for the dedicated cider drinker. I don't always have any cider option at all, or if I do there will be between one and three very familiar choices. For two of my recent escapades, I've had the option of Original Sin Cider and I've chosen it. It amazes me actually that I've not yet reviewed their flagship cider because it is frequently my favorite option when I go out. A restaurant served it to me in a bottle and a local institution of a bar poured mine from their tap. So, my notes for this particular review come from both bottled and draft versions of Original Sin Cider.

Original Sin's official Brand Description gives the briefest of overviews of their history and priorities as a company, "Original Sin is a critically acclaimed cider launched in 1997. From day one we’ve been committed to producing premium quality cider using the finest ingredients. Original Sin contains no artificial flavors or colors allowing the natural qualities of the apple to speak for itself."  What this does not detail is the really interesting New York City and New York State connections of the company or its unique brand identity largely shaped by the graphic design by R. Black. You can read more about these elements and other at Original Sin's website: http://www.origsin.com/.

A while ago I did review their Newtown Pippin: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/02/cider-review-newtown-pippin.html and their Elderberry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/09/cider-review-original-sin-elderberry.html It feels like an oversight at this point not to have reviewed a cider that I drink regularly and that is far more available than many of the ciders I try. Folks can buy Original Sin in more than 30 states in the U.S.

I do with that Original Sin's official cider description gave me a bit more to work with, but here's what it says, "Dry Traditional cider, fermented with two types of Champagne yeast." I'm glad to hear about the yeast varieties. Traditional is not really a useful term at this point in American cider. Anyhow, on the review!

Appearance: brilliant, straw, lots of fairly active bubbles

I can't see it very well when this cider is served in the bottle, so I saved my photos for its appearance on tap. The color is a classic pale straw. Completely brilliant. Plenty of bubbles that are fairly fine and very active in the glass.

Aroma: cooked apples, sweetness, yeast, vanilla

What I can smell most strongly is exactly baked apple. Secondarily I can detect a blendy smell of yeast and vanilla. The overall impression is very much like a bakery! On some sniffs I could detect a tiny chemical after smell, Alex thought a touch vinegar, but to me it was a bit more bleachy. Overall definitely a sweet smell.

Sweetness: Semi-sweet to sweet

Much less sweet than the smell would imply. Oddly enough the sweetness of this cider seemed to vary for me based on vessel from which I quaffed it. From the bottle, I'd call it a semi-sweet but from a pint glass it tasted more sweet. Perhaps that could also have to do with having the bottled Original Sin with fish and chips or with super salty popcorn which was how I enjoyed my pint glass. I also totally acknowledge that my tastes have gone pretty extreme in terms of finding nearly everything either sweet or semi-sweet. It is a flaw in my personal calibration. Oh well.

Flavors and drinking experience: clean, balanced, low tannins, low acidity, green walnuts

This is a mass-market cider which means that crazy levels of tannins or acidity are just not part of the picture. What's great about it though is that this cider is smooth and balanced and clean. I also love that the smell and the taste offer two very  It somehow reminds me of greenness and pleasantly under-ripe fruit. It has a freshness like that to it. Very clean finish with hints of bitter apple skins, most of the sweetness is on the initial taste after which it backs off. I am reminded of green grapes and green walnuts, but nothing too sharp.

As if it wasn't apparent by now, this is my preferred bar cider. I don't really buy it to drink at home; that's where I imbibe my rare and exotic pretties. But, this is my top choice when I'm out and meeting friends, playing games, or eating salty bar snacks. That is exactly what this cider was designed for, and it does the job very very well.