From Thatchers, in Somerset, we have Katy. Weighing in at 7.4%, this single variety drink claims to be made from the perfect cider apple.
And from Westons, Herefordshire, we have Old Rosie. A slightly lighter 7.3%, but this cloudy cider claims to be named after the Weston’s family steam roller from 1921.
It seems that many ciders are made from a mixture of cider apples, with funny, olde-worlde sounding names, like Foxwhelp, Hagloe Crab, Chibble’s Wilding…. However, Katy is made from only one. Guess which one.
It has a sharp taste, but a delicate floral smell, a bit like waking up in a west country hedgerow. You can smell the flowers, the little white ones on those big, umbrella stems, that people think of as weeds, and always reminds me of hayfever. As a dry cider, it also has that slight toilet-water taste. I’ve never drank toilet water, and don’t intend to confirm this similarity, but it’s a small that comes with many ciders, a sort of farmyard smell.
This cider would suit those with a palate for drier ciders.
Old Rosie is a cloudy cider, a fact that sometimes puts people off, but is comforting to me that there are real apples in there. I immediately smelled that Rosie is a warmer, sweeter cider, more autumnal. That might be the oak vats it’s matured in. Rosie is heavy with apples, fruity, sweet and a little bit smoky, like, I imagine, the character of that old steam roller.
Today, experience beat strength and Old Rosie managed to grab Katy’s apron strings, got her in a headlock and gave her a Dutch rub (knuckles in the head), before they both set off to the farmhouse, to share a flagon of scrumpy, bake some bread and berate the husbands.