Savannah cider review (8.0/10)
“The cider has potential to be the perfect drink but has a few little niggles which defy the brand and lasting satisfaction for the consumer”
Savannah is a brand of dry cider from Africa.
The bottle is a rich pale amber with a light white label obscuring only a little fragment of it’s centre. The cost was reasonable at only £1.19 per bottle from b and m. This equates to 2.5 units for 500ml at 5% alcohol by volume. The green and white of the label makes you almost feel like you are in Africa and the stamped “Dry” tag beneath the label in large font clearly provides you with some expectations for the taste experience. Even the Jonathan Blair vintage was only a medium dry which left your mouth gasping, so it’s dryness certainly was under scrutiny.
Whilst the labelling had positive aesthetics, it’s practicality was lacking. The recommended government daily maximum is 3-4 units which can be only partly provided by one bottle at 2.5 units meaning you may wish to consume a second. To stay within the limit then you would have to discard some of the second since a full second would put you up to 5 units which is over the recommended amount. This of course would be a real waste.
Of course for review proposes only I consumed 2 bottles as detailed below, but for regular drinking this is impractical due to the recommended limit. The cost of this also isn’t budget since £2.40 to achieve the limit could provide you with almost 3 bottles of orchard cider. Alternatively 1 bottle of Jonathan Blair by H. Weston and sons at over 7 percent puts you over the limit for £1.69.
It is cheaper than Rekorderlig however but will it live up to that ? …
Prior to opening, the cardboard casing chassis around the bottleneck creates theatre on opening, with a potential trip to Cape Town to be won with each reveal. It makes you hurry to identify your code before going to the website which adds an element of challenge and competition to your evening before even entering the bottle.
When you find out though that there is no competition currently running, it does exude an element of false advertising which is certainly disappointing. On email contact the form often glitches and even after confirmed receipt after waiting over a week you eventually accept that you have been hard done by.
The fizz on opening was limited and abrupt with very few bubbles rising up the bottle if any. A modest head resembling bubble bath is present on the cusp of the fluid however. The scent is highly Appley, but only strongly present on pouring into a glass. A subtle fresh scent is present though, from the bottle, without much acidity which suggests a sweet drink.
At the first sip the cider has a slight bitterness yet isn’t at all unpleasant. Again the dryer ciders do not typically appease my sweet tooth with this as no exception. The acidity is noticeable but not excessive and leaves a bit of a fruity tang in your mouth. This accompanied by it’s subtle sparkle does not leave a gassy impression due to mild or reserved carbonation. After a few sips you get an Appley feel to reassure you of the scent. This is not too subtle and does provide you with a rich, yet not artificial taste sensation.
Due to the acidity and Appley taste with modest carbonation this beverage does possess a mature feel. A feel which does not resemble rekorderlig or appleade.
I guess the downside is twofold. On the one hand this cider is prominently stated as a dry cider. All the dryer varieties I have sampled previously do not leave your mouth feeling relieved or moist.
This cider however does not leave your mouth desiccated.
Whilst for me this is great since I prefer that moist feel, it is not what the label boasts nor what would be expected from an African themed cider. This for branding seems a considerable discrepancy.
The second issue is lack of sweetness. Whilst the fizz and apple flavour is balanced very well with acidity there is not enough sweetness to satiate me.
Perhaps this is due to my sweet tooth, but either way for my taste personally I would prefer a little sweetness to complement the fruity feel.
The bottle shape means it is perhaps more enjoyable to consume directly from the bottle than from a glass since it feels substantial to hold due to it’s short, stout build.
The aftertaste is not perfect since it leaves you with a sour and sharp, almost spoilt feel on your tongue. This with all the positives aforementioned, is a real pity.
If a little pricey, the cider packaging promises a dry drink with that wild feel expected from the African landscape. The dryness is simply absent but flavour balance between acidity, fruit and carbonation is totally faultless. It is also let down by a fairly unpleasant aftertaste which is a shame. The cider has potential to be the perfect drink but has a few little niggles which defy the brand and lasting satisfaction for the consumer.