A beverage experiment was recently released at the Brunswick Street Cider House. The buzz was as effervescent as the drink being launched. Industry reps of all sorts were in attendance and the taps were flowing. Willie Smith’s Cider had two new products plus the original farmhouse style cider available as complimentary beverages for the launch.
I’d sold plenty of Willie Smiths original recently and was interested to see what else they had to offer. When serving customers at Cider House, when their preference is for a drier cider, I’ll give them a taster of Willie Smith’s and another dry cider, 8 times out of 10 they choose Willie Smith’s.
My own taste is for the sweeter side of the mid-range ciders, so was expecting the Willie Smith’s Bone Dry to draw out the insides of my mouth. It didn’t, it was remarkably ‘wet’ for a dry tasting cider. And I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. I also noticed a few customers later, on the weekend, coming back for schooner after schooner of the Bone Dry. It’s nice to have an alternative to the clear, crisp dry ciders and people seem to like it.
But that’s not even the exciting part! Lark Distillery was present at the launch. Bill Lark explained that their whiskey was not suited to reuse the barrels, and they were quite happy for them to be repurposed. The folks at Willie Smiths wondered what it would be like to age cider in the whiskey barrels and put the idea into action. The result? A beautifully flavoured organic apple cider with a whiskey essence.
When I asked patrons what they thought, the response was unanimously positive. One was quite surprised at how well the flavours go together. The aroma has a hint of caramel with the high notes of the spirit, yet the substance itself is definitively apple cider, no intense kick or sharpness, just a hint of whiskey flavour with a lightly carbonated, unfiltered organic apple cider. Beautifully done.
This cider geek is quite impressed. If you want to get yourself some, Brunswick St Cider House is one of the few places that carries this limited edition experiment. There are only 888 bottles in the world. And the bottles themselves are quite nice, the label is printed on Huon Pine veneer. Fitting, as the apples are grown in the Huon Valley in Tasmania.