Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cider Review: Slyboro Cider's Old Sin

Slyboro Cider makes cider in Granville, New York. They use apples from their own property, Hicks Orchard. Their website is attractive and reasonably informative, giving info about cider in general, the brand's different offerings, places to buy the cider, and their appearances in print and digital media. I notice the beautiful photography they used; I'm a complete sucker for good photos. 

Old Sin is the dryer of their two sparkling ciders. Here's Slyboro's official description: "Deliciously dry! A pure apple temptation from the intertwined flavors of delicately floral McIntosh, spicy aromatic Russets with a splash of warm, richly fruited Ice Harvest Cider. Serve chilled. 8% alc/vol 1.5% residual sugar. 750ml." What I find most interesting here is that they sweeten the cider with a different sweeter higher alcohol cider. This is an experience I've not had before, so I'm curious to see what the effect will be.

Appearance: Brilliant clarity, goldenrod, yellow mango

After learning a bit more about the language of a cider tasting, I'll be trying out a bit of what I learned in this entry. The term that emphasizes the highest degree of clarity in a cider is brilliant, and that is definitely the right term for Slyboro's Old Sin. When poured, this cider has loads of visible bubbles, to a degree that forced carbonation is likely. In terms of color, I'd call it either goldenrod or yellow mango.

Aroma:  overripe apples, sweet baked fruit, caramel, maple, cheddar

Many different scents are discernible in this cider. The apple scent comes across as overripe apples. Think of freshly picked apples that have been riding in a warm sunny car for an afternoon. It is a pleasant strongly fruity smell. For me, the yeastiness comes through as well and combines with the fruit for a baked-fruit aroma. I also detected a bit of maple, caramel and cheddar. The scent is very full and a bit heavy.

Sweetness: Though Slyboro considers this cider dry, I'd call it off dry to semi-sweet.

This cider isn't traditionally sweet, but its flavors are so fruit forward that it could lull someone who prefers sweet ciders into real comfort with an off dry cider. That's exactly what happened at my house when I shared the cider with friends.

Flavors: minerality, caramel, bright initially then richer

Here's where I'm going to try to use more of what I learned from my cider tasting at Murray's. When thinking about flavor it can be useful to clock not only sweetness but also tannins and acidity. In terms of the tea-like Tannins, Old Sin offers pleasantly medium tannins. Similarly I found the acidity at a fairly moderate level, but all of our tasters did not agree. The wine drinker found it more acidic.
As I said before, in terms of sweetness, this cider is semi-dry. Additionally, the bright flavor that hits right up front does develop into richness in the mid-palate.

Drinking Experience: fruity and lots of sparkle

The level of carbonation plus the appearance lead me to think this cider uses forced carbonation. Not a bad thing, but perhaps a bit too much carbonation for my preferences. Overall, I found this cider very satisfying. Old Sin is a great conversation cider and an interesting one to share with wine drinkers. I got the pleasure of enjoying this with two of my out of town friends. So that's how I'd best recommend it, drink at leisure with a few light nibbles but lots of conversation.