Hi cider friends. Ordinarily I would be writing to you about cider pairings for Thanksgiving, but things are just so different this year. I’m following the advice and not travelling and not seeing family. It’s hard, but I want to keep them (and my household) safe. It’s what I can do. So, I’m not going to pretend that tradition is what’s in the cards this year. Besides, Thanksgiving is certainly a holiday that needs some reflection and change anyway.
Instead, I want to enjoy innovation. I’m sharing my notes on Stowe Cider’s Juniper Sessions. I’ve had this cider a few times, and I tend to enjoy gin botanical infused ciders. What I just learned is that there are many different Juniper Sessions, and the one I’m reviewing today is Volume 10 Smuggler’s Notch. Now I want to track them all down and try the rest!
Stowe Cider is a small Vermont Cidery based in a ski town. I don’t get access to many Stowe ciders, but I pick them up when I visit my in-laws in Vermont and whenever I see them in our local bottle shop, I pick some up. And sometimes they send me review samples, but this is a cider I picked up for myself a while ago.
Here are Stowe Ciders’ previous appearances in this blog.
My 2016 visit to the tasting room: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-1.html
Local Infusion Snow’s Raspberry Hard Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-rose-and.html
Visit Stow Cider online to learn about all the ciders and other projects: https://www.stowecider.com/home
Here’s how the cidery describes this cider.
Juniper Sessions #10 Smuggler’s Notch
Smugglers’ Notch Distillery
Tasting Notes: Juniper, Citrus, Anise, Citrus Peel & Hops
And for the curious here’s a link to the collaborator Smuggler’s Notch Distillery: https://www.smugglersnotchdistillery.com/
Appearance: pale moonglow, bubbly, brilliant
This is a lovely and delicate cider to the eye. The color reminds me of luna moths or whilte flowers viewed in early morning light. It’s a little bit gold but also a little bit green and glowy. I can see lots of bubbles with great clarity.
Aromas: Pine, vegetal, nutty, ripe apple and funky
The Juniper Sessions smells piney and nutty to me. There are lots of vegetal and herbal notes in the mix. There’s also some ripe apples and hints of funk. These are some complex aromas! I also get more mysterious elements like pine nuts or even corn nuts.
This is a semi-dry cider but it’s on the sweeter side of that spot. There’s plenty going on besides sweetness though.
Flavors and drinking experience: Herbs, apple, warming, piney, spicy finish
The Juniper Sesssions tastes herbal, with some almost rosemary or soapy notes, but I also get plenty of apple. I can taste apple even more than I could smell it. I love that this cider has a spicy finish; there’s even a note that reminds me of green pepper. It’s all so fresh tasting!
The cider has nice acidity and body. Juniper sessions has a medium strong bubble. The drinking experience is slightly warming and piney.
You could have this cider with a lot of different dishes, but I recommend something heavy on cheese but otherwise simple. It would be great with a baked homemade macaroni and cheese and some broccoli. Let the many notes of the Juniper Sessions sing for themselves, loud and clear!