Thatchers old Rascal cider review (7.5/10)

The Good
” Full bodied feel as advertised without a watery nature.”
” Pleasant fruity flavour and sweetness.”
” Well balanced carbonation.”

The Bad
” Not quite tangy enough to convince of the acidity desired.”
” A little pricey for the product and not 100% practical.”
” Dryness not convincingly apparent and a slightly bitter aftertaste.”

 

Packaging

From the bottle, it was refreshing to see apples other than the ubiquitous Dabinett or Michelin labelled on the rear of the bottle. It was also good to see the title appearing quirky, without direct reference to a single “Golden” apple variety.

What the packaging does well then is intrigue. It captivates your attention by not appearing typical and the designs including an animated fox only enhance this uniqueness. On the panel of Sainsbury’s cider this appeared to draw my eyes in early on, suggesting an eye catching design.

With the thatchers name you would perhaps expect a medium dry with the stereotypical 4-5 percent alcohol as is the case with most non-vintage varieties; Capel road a notable exception.
The old Rascal shyly announces 4.5 percent alcohol by volume which sounds modest. On the rear of the dark bottle with orange and white text it informs of 500ml capacity equating to 2.3 units per bottle. This makes the cider fairly practical in terms of necessitating 2 bottles to achieve close to the limit. At £1.90 per bottle however this means £3.80 to achieve which makes this cider quite pricey even in comparison to highly enjoyable varieties such as the African ” Savannah cider”.

The expectation then was for a quirky drink which is highly enjoyable. It announced medium dryness as well as full bodied flavour suggesting a lack of watery ness and reasonable tannin content. On reading the Tremlett Apple labelled appears to have a reasonable level of tannins for dryness. Dabinett apples were also present to enhance this along with red streak which I had not previously heard of.

Allegedly according to thatchers this red-streak Apple provides a pepperiness so I was eagerly anticipating that …
Whilst it specified a distinctive flavour and that it mentioned it’s provenance as a family cider maker it did not announce of any expectation for sweetness; This can be lacking in many Somerset ciders along with carbonation.

I was hoping the “beware of the rascal” on the front was reassuring me that all of these attributes in addition to those announced would be present.

For tasting then, I was expecting a medium dryness and a certain uniqueness from the distinctive apple combination. Also I was looking for a non-watery cider. One that lives up to its quirky packaging and generous price tag.
I was hoping for a cider which also had fruitiness, sweetness and light carbonation. If all of these were present it would score highly …. Let’s see.

Smell

On opening, only a briefly lasting, weak fizzing sound was present. This was accompanied with a slightly yeasty, yet smooth smell emerging from a quickly fading small,white head perched upon the liquid. The smell was short lasting on the nose yet could be detected some time after opening. Expected then would be the yeasty nature of the sweet and carbonated stowford press from Hereford. This was good to see.

Taste

On tasting, the cider did not suffer from a watery feel and was certainly full bodied as advertised. The drink had modest carbonation which was rather pleasant. The cider was pleasantly sweet, yet not artificial and had a very smooth taste sensation. After a few sips you can certainly sense the feel of fresh fruit which was subtle aswell as it’s acidity level.

To my taste, this was a highly well-balanced pleasant drink with sweetness, sharpness and modest carbonation. The aftertaste was certainly not dry however like advertised and the acidity was not quite prominent enough for my palette. Any aftertaste I detected left a subtle bitterness which was not overly pleasant. The taste of the main body of the drinking experience though was very satisfying.

Summary
A pleasantly fruity cider with a sufficient level of carbonation. The full bodied nature is present without a lack of substance which can often create a watery impression. The dryness is inadequate and the aftertaste is not perfect. The level of dryness is not quite as advertised.

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