2018 Revelations Series – Revel Cider [Various Locations]
Back for its 3rd year to celebrate just that – three years in production – Revel Cider Co. has once again released four celebratory ciders each week this past March as a birthday gift we all get to enjoy. The past two years have offered spectacular series of unique and new ciders – with this year being no different than the past.
Now if you are avid followers of Revel Cider like we are, you’ve probably noticed that they have released dozens upon dozens of new releases since their inception. You may be wondering like us, ‘how could they possibly have new ideas’ and/or ‘surely they’ve done it all already’. Well thankfully for us the team at Revel seems to be an endless beacon of creativity; constantly drawing inspiration from other beverages in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic realms. So, with this years Revelations, comes some of the most unique cider creations yet.
Week one was quite possibly the tastiest Revel Cider we’ve had yet called, Mithras. Potentially named after the ancient Indo-Iranian God of Light, it is a 1.5 year old, spontaneous cider that has a 1/5th ratio of Niagara nectarines added; as well as vanilla bean and some Perry. A golden yellow hue, it is somewhat cloudy in nature and looks almost still. Very smooth right from the initial sip, there is no bite. It goes quickly sweet with creamy vanilla flavours appearing fast. The nectarine flavours that appear are very vivid – drawing from both the pit and the juicy flesh of the fruit. Some light apple detectable moving into the aftertaste, with the flavour remaining mostly the same and strong from the start. With a creamy and dry finish, we found the vanilla to become a bit stronger near the end of the glass. This cider absolutely delivers on the nectarines and vanilla as promised, creating an almost ‘creamsicle-like’ experience, blended with a splash of white wine. While we did not detect much of the perry – this cider is nothing short of a creamy dream.
Up as their planned second cider was another interestingly named drink called, Astula – a 6 month old perry, brewed with lavender. Appearing as a bright neon yellow, it had a strong floral and lavender bouquet aroma that almost shocks the senses for a moment. With a minimal bite, there is a very strong and powering floral flavour instantly noticeable. With sweet, candied/sweetened pear aspects, they are contrasted with some of the bitter and earthy notes from the floral plant infusion. The lavender continues to be strong for quite some time – with more citrus flavours appearing near the end, to make an almost ‘Sprite/7-Up’ finish, that is amplified by the carbonation. A very crisp cider overall, it is smooth and has a very bold floral taste to it. We were pleased as some lavender-infused products can taste soapy but not this Astula whatsoever.
The third week of Revelations was actually suppose to be Week 4, but due to this cider requiring a bit more time to ferment (according to Revel’s Instagram post), Week 4’s offering got bumped up to week 3. Electric Dreams is unlike other ciders we’ve seen. With a funky, almost royal-purple colour, it gets that way from adding citric acid to butterfly pea flowers together. Also dry-hopped, it has some bubbles and foam with a strong musty, wet wood aroma; amongst notes of tart mixed-berries and dewy floral notes. The first taste is characterized by a strong acidity that overpowers the mouth and senses. With a unique ‘wet/dewey’ floral taste – that differs greatly from the floral flavours in the Astula – it is also tart, and more on the sweet side, and not bitter. There is a slight taste and sensation from the dry hopping but nothing significant. Into the ending, more apple and earthy flavours come through – with the acidity and floral flavours remaining. It also has that more standard Revel-dry finish we are use to with many of their other ciders. With a lot of acidity and a strong tannin presence, this may appeal to an old-world cider fan more than a new, ‘modern’ one. We felt that this cider with the taste and the colour, it looked and tasted like Spring may feel if we ever get to experience it amongst these winter storms.
Finally, the series wrapped up with a new take on one of the ciders that started it all for Revel, Spirit of Raspberry. This takes the classic gin botanical cider, Spirit of the Woods (Barry’s favourite cider), and it adds in a natural raspberry flavour. It is a cloudy red and funky smelling – with gin and pine aspects forward on the nose. At first you get a medium bite with gin botanical noticeable. It is astringent and musty – with a lot of barreling flavour, sour raspberry tones and some sweet elements. It becomes more tart and raspberry tasting – with a long lasting dry floral and piney finish. This cider almost has a cold element from the gin that lingers on the palate. The warmer it gets, the closer to the original it is. Overall is a mature offering, that somewhat complicates the balanced nature of the original; however it does give a nice unique take on the Revel staple. It may not appeal to all cider drinks but may convert some spirit drinkers.
This year’s Revelations series once again did not disappoint. With unique ingredients like butterfly pea flowers and lavender, there was definitely a more floral theme for this year’s offerings. We were thrilled to get to visit Tooth and Nail, Bar Lupulus and Brothers Bar Bistro in Ottawa, and Arabella Park in Kitchener where we sampled the series this year; amongst the many better beverage bars that were featuring it. Looking forward to what else Revel will deliver before we celebrate once again next year.
2016 Revelations –