Ventons Skippy’s Scrumpy ‘Barrel 7’ Cider Review

Vital Stats:

Producer: Ventons
Cider Name: Skippy’s Scrumpy ‘Barrel 7’
Region: Devon
ABV: 6.5%
Taste: Dry
Served: Pint at room temperature
Smell: Apples/Lightly rustic/Fruity
Colour: Dull yellow
Clarity: Lightly cloudy
Carbonation: Still

Review/Tasting Notes:

Purchased From: Ventons Cider Farm, Devon
Date: 18/06/13

Today I’m carrying on with my West Country Cider Tour cider reviews and up today is another classic from Devon, which was bought on the Sunday leg of the tour. The next beauty to be reviewed is the Barrel 7 cider from Ventons.

Ventons cider is run by Mark Venton, who has been in the cider making business for 7 or 8 years now. He makes cider the traditional way, using 100s of different apple varieties, and is one of the few producers I know that presses his cider through straw. Apparently it’s a risky way to produce cider, though Mark seems to have got it spot on, judging from the lovely cider tasting session we had on the Sunday. Also as he uses barley straw for the pressing, which apparently is breaking all traditional rules for cider making, though yet again it seems to work. Once pressed, it is then left to mature in predominantly former whiskey barrels. As he was keen to point out, each barrel produces a different taste and he aims for a quality cider, rather than a cider that tastes the same.

As this was my first visit, I had to try out all of the barrels to get a feel for what was to my taste. The first 2 barrels, from the 2011 harvest, were my favourites right up until the end. Then we were shown barrel 7 and bam I had a new favourite, much to the annoyance of some people who wish it was kept a secret 😉 This review today will be on barrel 7 and fingers crossed it has kept well in the 5 litre bag-in-box I took away.

This poured a dull yellow colour and had the most gorgeous fruity and rustic aroma. There’s also a minor hint of the oak in the air too. It’s just so inviting and tempting me in! I take in my first sip and wow that’s amazing. You get a gorgeous, fresh, zesty and lightly sweet apple taste up front. This then gets drier, lightly acidic/sharp/citric/bitter and has a very soothing moderate level of tannins, with a light oak aftertaste. This is one of those ciders that is bursting with character and takes your mouth on such a varied and exciting journey. Whilst it has character, it also feels smooth and so easy to drink. I have to say the straw press definitely does seem to add another dimension to this cider. Moreish is definitely an understatement for this one! My only regret with this cider is only buying 5 litres of it!

Would I buy this again?: Yes
Overall Rating: 9.5/10

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