Gwatkin Old Rats Tale Cider Review

Vital Stats:

Producer: Gwatkin
Cider Name: Old Rats Tale
Region: Herefordshire
ABV: 7.5%
Taste: Dry
Served: Chilled 330ml bottle
Smell: Rustic apples/Oak
Colour: Copper/Brown
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes:

Purchased From: Bristol Cider Shop
Date: 12/11/12

As the cider stocks are running low, it has meant another trip to the Bristol Cider Shop was in order. Off I went and I got myself 6 new ciders/perries to choose from. First up is a dry cider from Gwatkin, which is called Old Rats Tale. Apparently its name is taken from an old story that farmers used to add rats to their fermenting juice to give it extra flavour and body. It’s possible that story could have once been true, but luckily they don’t nowadays. Health & safety would have a field day if they ever found it was true!

I’ve had a fair bit of experience with having Gwatkin ciders now, with some being a bit hit or miss with me. I find some of their ciders a bit sweeter than they claim, which is slightly disappointing, but they do make some cracking ones too. As this is labelled a dry cider, then I was hoping this could be another one of theirs I like and not on the sweet side. This one in particular is made in the traditional farmhouse way and using a blend of old varities of cider apples. The juice is then left to ferment and mature in oak barrels. They do carbonate this one, which is a shame but not unexpected.

As I poured the cider, it came out a bright copper/brown colour, with thankfully very little bubbles too. This had a very deep apple smell, which certainly felt rustic/farmhouse like and you could feel a fair bit of oak in the air too. This definitely felt like it was going to be a strong beast just from the smell.

I took my first sip and it did have a slight sweetness to start with, but then it turned very sour/sharp and the dryness kicked in to overdrive. There was a hint of a spirit/oak about it too, giving you a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside, but also had a good level of tannins too! It was on a mission to dry your mouth out and I have to say it succeeded too! This isn’t one for the faint hearted is all I will say. If you don’t like sharp and dry ciders, then it’s probably best to step away now before it’s too late. I personally quite like this one, but it’s not something I would have more than one or two in one go.

Would I buy this again?: Yes, but in small doses
Overall Rating: 8/10

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