A Delightful New Perspective
A Review of Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Cider by Thistly Cross Cider
Posted on 9/22/2014 by Chops
One hard set rule for any passion is to always be open for new experiences. For craft beer nerds like myself, this is a pretty easy rule to live by. These days, we have a seemingly endless variety of nectar adorning beer store shelves. Sometimes I'll try a new beer just because the bottle looks interesting. It gives you a healthy perspective by clearly defining your likes and dislikes. Perhaps the most overlooked insight comes not from beer nuance, but from non-beer nuance. How do you really know what you like if you don't explore the entire spectrum? This is why I also enjoy trying wine, mead, sake, and cider.

Craft cider has exploded in recent years and it's getting much easier to find artisan versions. Gone are the days of common bland cider in green bottles. Today, you can find everything from fruit blends to cask ciders. I recently caught up with Thistly Cross Cider out of Scotland, who were in New Mexico doing tastings and promotions. They brought several of their unique concoctions, including their delectable Whisky Cast Cider, described as ''a flavoursome cider made potent in the oak of a Glen Moray whisky cask with lingering tastes to be savoured''. When asked if I wanted to give it a try, I simply slacked my jaw and nodded.

In the glass, this cider had that classic straw yellow coloration with light carbonation. On the nose, I found a solid base of sweet apples along with notes of honey, mild spice, and a hint of oak. As a craft beer fan, I am conditioned to expect potent blasts of grain alcohol from cask ales, but this cider was blissfully subdued. In no way was I intimidated or thrown off base. It was a warm and welcoming introduction that warranted a confident first sip.

Much to my delight, the flavor mirrored the aroma almost note for note. The flavor train started off with ripe sweet apples, then transitioned into cinnamon apples with notes of honey before exiting with a warm oaky aftertaste. I found almost no alcohol warming, so this cider drank as easy as one at half the strength. The whiskey influence took on the forms of spice and woody notes, which complimented the sweet fruity foundation surprisingly well. The cider had a medium body and felt exceptionally smooth on the palate.

Overall, I found the Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Cider to be a flavorful and surprisingly refreshing nectar. It's not every day that you can use the terms ''cask'' and ''refreshing'' in the same sentence when describing an alcoholic beverage. These are usually obligate sippers that require a refined palate to properly enjoy. Not so here. Because of its subdued nature, this is a cask-aged beverage that can be enjoyed by any and all beer/cider fans. You get all the great nuance of barrel-aging without the taste bud punishment. I could easily enjoy this cider beside a cozy fireplace or while lounging at the beach.

Luckily for American beer/cider fans, Thistly Cross Cider is making their presence known in the states. I am truly amazed and delighted that I can find their bottles all the way out in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which says a lot about the growth of craft cider. Therefore, be sure to check the cider section of your local beer store and ask for some Thistly Cross. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

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Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Cider by Thistly Cross Cider
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