Charlie Harvey

Review — Wilkins Farmhouse Cider

Wilkins Farmhouse Cider accompanied by Chillipepper Pete's vindaloo mix

Wilkins Farmhouse Cider In A Big Box

My normal practice when writing these cider reviews is to write up my experiences the next day, or within a couple of days of drinking. This time I am making an exception and am writing whilst drinking. To be more specific I am sitting in my garden, listening to Back to The Planet and Senser, feeling slightly sunburned and watching the sun go down as I type away on the old laptop. There is a reason for this state of affairs. I acquired my Wilkins Farmhouse Cider from CiderPunk (of which more shortly). And it is only possible to acquire in 5, 10 or 20 litre measures. Too much to drink in one sitting for me.

Astute observers will notice that I go by ciderpunx on twitter (well, many places in fact). But I am more than happy to share the name with a cider retailer like ciderPunk. Their idea is to "bring the wonders of farmhouse cider to the masses". You can't knock that. I also liked the Chaos UK reference in some of their their page titles.

But I digress. My huge box of cider showed up a couple of days after I placed my order. My dear chum Simmie had arranged a box of frankly evil chilli-based products from Chillipepper Pete to arrive on the same day. I felt like all my Christmases had come at once.

I decided to accompany my cider with some vindaloo mix, made with naga chillies. But I started with the cider, such is my dedication to the creed of cidernaut.

Portrait of Roger Wilkins - the cidermaker himself.

Roger Wilkins is an "artisan farmhouse cidermaker" who has been making cider since he was a boy. And it shows. First of all this is going to send Magners or Strongbow drinkers running screaming from the, umm, barn. Its a dry, like bone dry. Its bittersharp to the palatte. Its tart almost to the point of being sour with a heavy tannin finish, astringent to the gigawatts, with an undertow of cowshed. Imagine eating a cooking apple but tasting hay and autumn and sunshine at the same time. That's what we're dealing with here.

In the glass its a medium yellow-orange. A a still cider with no bubbles at all, Wilkins is very much after the tradition of Somerset scrumpies. The apple taste is complex and intense, the drink hazy and bittersharp dry. At 6% you could even have a few pints of this without breaking yourself too badly. This stuff is the real deal. You need to try some!

As I mentioned, I was accompanying my Wilkins with a bowl of Chillipepper Pete's Vindaloo mix. That was another seriously intense flavour. The combination of naga chillies and Somerset farmhouse cider turns out to be well worth investigating: bittersharpdryhothothot I think I shall arbitrarily call it. Well, my glass needs a top up and the sky darkens. Oh yeh and the tape needs turning over. Until next we meet …

2011-04-10 by Charlie Harvey


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