Oliver’s Ellis Bitter

Oliver’s Cider is one of the easier-to-find craft English ciders around here, but that still doeesn’t make it that easy to find.  This Ellis Bitter cider is part of a series of single-varietals (the others we’ve sighted here in Massachusetts are Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill).  The back of the bottle has this to say:

Ellis Bitter is a bittersweet cider apple from Devon.  Increasingly popular with soft astringency and of good quality.  This single varietal dry cider is very cidery.  Fermented by wild native yeasts and matured in old oak barrels.

Ellis Bitter comes in 750mL bottles (with elegantly understated screwtops), costs about $17, and is 7% ABV.

Initial ratings:

  • Sweetness: 0.2/5
  • Bubbliness: 0/5
  • Complexity: 4.6/5
  • Tannin: 4.3/5

Phil’s comments:

Classic British cider nose, like a fancy vinegar mellowed, absolutely still, incredible smooth mineral rich mouth feel, very complex apple flavor for a single varietal, somehow extremely tannic without being abrasive, not very acidic, an incredibly easy drinking very dry hard cider.  If you like dry ciders you will love this.
  • 9.1/10

Ben’s comments:

Nose is buttery, vinegary, smooth, appley; it has hints of various phenolic smells like acetone, bandaid, blue cheese, but they all blend together to smell like really nice dry cider.  It’s totally dry and totally still; the flavor is intensely bittersweet-apple, with more of the buttery notes.  The mouthfeel is nice and full with lots of tanniny astringency.  The finish is clean, dry, astringent.  I seem to remember Oliver’s Traditional Dry being a tiny bit better balanced and a little more complex, but that doesn’t mean I have anything bad to say about this cider.

  • 8.8/10
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