Since our interview with Wil at Schlafly, we had a case of the Proper Cider ready for review, waiting for our sampling rigors, and, now, it is finally realized with their Scrumpy.  Proper Cider is a collaboration between Sandford Orchards and Schlafly that we have written about previously.  The Scrumpy is a type of cider from the West of England which refers to the rough or harsh cider made from unselected apples.  This premise is definitely present in the Proper Scrumpy.  Once you open the 4-pack of ciders, you will see the thoughtful collaborative design of the original Sandford Orchard logo infused with a new design by the brewery.  The labels are tasteful and classic at the same time, evoking the eloquence of high-class ciders.

Once you crack the bottle open and pour out the Scrumpy you get a pale haze and lack of clarity expected from this type of cider.  The scent on the nose from the bottle is that of wild yeasts and honey scents. These come at you with full prevalence.  On the pour, you receive a thicker bodied cider, described as a medium body on the bottle.  There was also a noticeable amount of carbonation in this cider, which makes it feel more commercial, but the flavors are that of a craft cider with years of age & experience.  The most unique element is the carbonation flares and their intensity. It may sound odd, but they spark and peak on the tongue in a playful dance.

The flavor is very complex and is almost indescribably complex with its constant unfolding of flavors and experiences.  The Scrumpy cider has dangerously drinkability and a tart-to-sweet shift; it has the intentions of being tart but develops into the sweet and mellow finish.  You are hit with the tannins here, too, so after you swallow your tongue gets dried out a bit. This takes a sudden turn into a low, bitter taste on the back of the tongue (from the tannins, we assume).  This is almost reminiscent of eating apple flesh and sucking out all the juice which leaves you with some bitter notes.  As we have described it, we would have had an easier time drawing a roadmap. This cider, overall, falls into the American palate and sticks true to a classic and delicious cider. This blend uncovers the Sandford Orchards roots while developing one of the most complex experiences we’ve had in the beverage work. These guys know what they are up to.