The sunshine is still out and I’m quite excited about this week’s cider, Millwhites Rum Cask Cider. Obviously, I’m a big cider fan, but I’m also partial to a wee dram of rum, so what could tick both boxes better than a cider aged in rum casks…let’s see if it’s everything I hoped it would be.
The White family have been making cider in Somerset for at least 100 years and Millwhites Cider was created by John-Simon White to celebrate that. They currently produce eight different ciders, from traditional blends to rum and rioja cask-aged and several blended with fruit juice.
They use traditional methods and 100% fresh pressed juice and you’re not going to find them in many shops. Although they are stocked in a small handful of retail outlets across the South of England, the bulk of their availability is through pubs. You can find further information on their website: www.millwhites.co.uk
Their rum cask cider is made from 100% West Country cider apples and is aged in barrels (they don’t say how long for) from The Jamaican Rum Company.
They describe it as
“an award-winning medium tipple which is full of fruit flavour with a subtle rum finish” and on the back of the bottle is a quote from John-Simon’s grandfather Noel “drink it careful mind or t’will ave your legs away!”
and at 7.5% I can see why they produce it in 330ml bottles.
Opening the bottle I smell deep rich sharp almost sour apple, followed by a definite oak aroma. It smells more like a dry cider to me and when poured is a pale amber colour which is slightly cloudy. It’s still which I hadn’t appreciated. The initial taste is very oaky with nice vanilla notes, which then subsides to reveal a sweet apple finish. Although Apple was the first smell I noticed, it is the last flavour to come through in the taste.
'The initial taste is very oaky with nice vanilla notes, which then subsides to reveal a sweet apple finish'
What I don’t detect though is rum as I’m used to it. I like very dark or spiced rum and during its time in the barrels the cider seems to have picked up what would be subtle notes of oak and vanilla, and turned them into more dominant flavours than the rum would exhibit itself. It’s not necessary, but I find myself wondering if a touch of fizz would lift the apple taste somewhat.
I’m not sure what cider apples Millwhites have used in this blend, but the oaky taste definitely reminds me of Gwatkin’s Yarlington Mill, which is also matured in oak. Although Gwatkin’s has younger, fresher oak taste, whereas I think you can taste the age in this rum cask cider. I’m confident though that if you like Gwatkin’s you’ll definitely like this.
So in summary, another rare and unique real cider, brought to you by Crafty Nectar Cider Subscription which will bring you a taste unlike anything you’re likely to find in the local supermarket.
James Finch @thecidercritic