The Cider Critic Reviews The World's 1st Crowdsourced Ciders: Crafty Nectar No.7 & No.8
This week is a double bill of an “in-house” review and by that I mean I’m reviewing something that Crafty Nectar have produced. As I know very well from what they’ve sent me over the last few months, their taste in craft cider is spot on; they’ve found some fantastic drinks to share with you all.
However, this is taking it to the next level and is a really bold move from a cider subscription service; to put their name on the bottle.
If you’re reading this, then chances are you already know a bit about Crafty Nectar. Based in Shepton Mallet, Somerset and founded by friends Ed Calvert and James Waddington back in 2015, who both wanted to share the wonders of craft cider as widely as possible. Three years later and they’ve already created the biggest craft cider subscription service in the UK and Europe. The breadth of their reach is outstanding, bringing rare, unique and small scale-produced real cider gifts to your front door.
As Ed says
“Every cider is sourced directly from small independent producers – we want to give them a chance to shine, and for their products to get into the hands of the people that will truly appreciate them”.
On top of all that they’ve been working away getting as much feedback as possible to create the world’s first crowd/craft sourced ciders. These ciders are not based on James and Ed just tasting and blending what they like themselves (although they love both of course), they’re based on the tastes of their subscribers. Collaborating with Celtic Marches, who make quality Herefordshire cider, they have been listening and making adjustments as they went along and have hoped to capture what the true cider lovers want.
All that work has resulted in the creation of No 7, described as “a Medium, mellow and sparkling craft apple cider…blended from the finest fresh pressed apples”
and No.8, a rhubarb craft cider which is a “sweet and sour cider with a tart edge”, made from Yorkshire sourced rhubarb.
I’ll start with Crafty Nectar No.7 Craft Cider
Opening the can and pouring I’m greeted by a deep amber colour and a surge of fizz which dissipates very quickly.
On the nose it smells dry and tannic with rich pressed apple notes. The initial taste is one of a combination of tannic astringent (mouth drying) flavours but also some acidity. This is followed by a slight sharpness which makes you clap your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
The finish starts dry but ends with a sweetness on the front of the tongue and a slight dry at the back of the throat. “Medium” is a great description of this cider, but not so much that it sits in the middle of dry and sweet, more like it is a collision of both.
It’s interesting that they’ve used all bittersweet apple varieties (Michelin, Dabinett, Harry Masters, Yarlington Mill), but it’s no secret that the UK palate has developed into a sweet one. What Crafty Nectar have done with this combination of apples is bring in enough fruit sweetness to start to appeal to modern tastes, but also keep plenty of rich tannins for those who also want that depth of flavour.
"What Crafty Nectar have done with this combination of apples is bring in enough fruit sweetness to start to appeal to modern tastes, but also keep plenty of rich tannins for those who also want that depth of flavour."
On to Crafty Nectar No. 8 Rhubarb Cider
A pop of the crown top and I get sharp crushed apple scents with a subtle background of rhubarb. As I pour I notice that surprisingly there is no blush in the colour which you frequently get with rhubarb ciders.
The initial taste is full of sharp tingling (rhubarb-like) acidity, which is followed by gentle fizz and you start to detect the rhubarb coming through slowly.
The finish is very complex; buttery and almost vanilla like, it reminds me of a rhubarb crumble with custard, but not like the traditional sweet; more like a shortcake topped homemade crumble with stewed rhubarb. This is finally followed by a rich cider apple finish which has sweetness and then astringency.
I’ve tried quite a few rhubarb ciders over the years and this has to be one of the best, if not the best. It gives Apple County Cider Co.’s version a run for its money and that is a cracking fruit cider.
"I’ve tried quite a few rhubarb ciders over the years and this has to be one of the best, if not the best."
Well, I have to say, hats off to not only Crafty Nectar and Celtic Marches but also to the subscribers whose feedback and tastes are clearly exceptional. I am very much looking forward to the moment I enter a pub and can order a can/bottle/pint of Crafty Nectar.
James Finch Follow @thecidercritic www.thecidercritic.com