From the website: ”One of the country’s best known and widely drunk ciders, it’s heart is in the West Country where it’s affectionately known as ‘Thorn’. Exactly why it’s called Blackthorn is shrouded in mystery.”
- Appearance: Dark Straw Colour.
- Aroma: Stale Cider Apple. Sulphites.
- Taste: Semi-Sweet, candied start and slightly dry, tart finish.
- Mouthfeel: Force Carbonated. Light Syrup Consistency.
Background: Blackthorn is owned by C&C Group. It’s the same company that owns Strongbow, Magners, Bulmers, Hornsby, Gaymers, etc. It is the Molson-Coors of Cider. Blackthorn is made in Somerset, England which is a Cider Mecca.
Fist taste is: Meh…it tastes sweet. There is a cider apple flavour there somewhere, but I think I said it best earlier as, “candied”. It doesn’t taste of real apple. Not to say that you can’t enjoy it or should feel guilty about liking it. That’s not what this blog is about. There’s no elitism here. Admittedly before I started making my own cider, I used to really like Blackthorn, Strongbow, etc. It wasn’t until I started having more control over what I put into the cider that I found out what I like and don’t like. I hope that you take the time to find out what you like too.
What’s in it? The label reads: cider, glucose-fructose syrup, citric acid, ascorbic acid, colour, contains sulphites. Hmmm…that sounds like a lot of different stuff in there right? Isn’t real cider suppose to be; Apple Juice and maybe Sulphites? Makes you think what all that other stuff is for. I’d love to get into exactly what all those extras are, but for obvious legal reasons I’ll save that for a later entry. I guess it’ll have to stay “shrouded in mystery” like it’s name.
Overall: I can appreciate what Blackthorn is. A cider-y flavoured carbonated alcohol drink. If you are low on options I would recommend you grab this over a Strongbow or Magners. But you really should search out local craft cider from you own neighbourhood first. If you can’t find any of those, you should keep reading my blog for suggestions! Drink Real Cider. Blackthorn is not Real Cider.
Would I buy it again? Yes, probably. There aren’t a lot of options for a daily drinker in my area and Blackthorn is fairly available. I’d much prefer a Lonetree Cider, but if you are strapped Blackthorn will do till you can get something better.
Where to get it? This was picked up at Legacy Liquor Store. $3.85 for a 500ml Can.
Rating: 5.5 Drinking Gorillas out of 10
X-Factor – Blackthorn is made in Somerset. Merridale Cider’s microclimate mirrors Somerset. Weird… Blackthorn bad, Merridale good…Would it be great if C&C put some of their profits back into building a craft cider made the traditional ways? I bet with the quality of apples they could make something real special.
Full Disclosure – At one point I searched the homebrewtalk.com forum for a Blackthorn clone. I really wanted to make something like it, but ended up with something much better…It was a good day.