Bittersweet Freedom 2020
Some apples are better than others.
6 years ago, we had the immense good fortune to stumble onto what has become our favourite apple. Having tried ciders from traditional European cider apples over the last few years, for us, nothing has topped the incredible character of the humble Hyslop.
Hyslop is a crabapple variety that originated in North America in the 19th century (around Boston likely). We only know of 3 trees in Ontario, and they’re extremely biennial: meaning they bear fruit every other year.
Even though we discovered these trees back in 2016, this is only the third time we’ve gotten our hands on these crabapples.
Why are we so obsessed with Bittersweet Freedom?
- Its’ distinct tannic character, chalky in a way that is completely different from other apples and grapes. Most tannins (that we’ve experienced) in grape wines tend to be smoother, and almost fruitier, where the Hyslop is uniquely chalky. To us, European cider apples are also more similar to grapes in their tannin profiles. In our experience Hyslop stands alone with it’s distinct mineral-like tannins.
- The gorgeous orange zest/marmalade flavours and aromas distinct to this fruit.
- The barnyard funk our native yeast add, working in harmony with the intensity of the fruit.
Bittersweet Freedom starts with those chalky tannins. Where many grape tannins tend to be softer and fruitier, this one is aggressively chalky, stripping the saliva from your mouth.
It gives way to eye popping tangerine juice, slowly followed by the farmyard funk brought forth by our native yeast.
The acid here is thankfully restrained, because honestly there’s enough going on to keep you thinking about it without a ton of acidity.
7.5% ABV | 750mL
A note on tannins:
Tannin is a broad term which encompasses many different molecules. They aren’t just one thing at the molecular level, they are a complex group of different polymers. While much of the research into different tannins is ongoing, it seems to be generally accepted that longer chain tannins are more astringent (they have more of the drying sensation in your mouth). Our best guess as to why the tannin experience of drinking this cider is so unique, is that Hyslop apples have been blessed with a high concentration of uniquely long chain tannins, unlike most grapes and other tannic apple varieties (at least, the ones we’ve come across).
Ingredients: Apples. Gluten free.
Wild ferment. Zero residual sugar. Vegan.