A FEW weeks ago, during my look at super-high-strength lagers and ciders, Gaymer K was the big surprise. It was very strong at 8.4% volume, tasty, drinkable and cheap. This, I followed up with a few days ago with Strongbow Super. At 7.5%, it was a weaker. And because it was a dry cider, it wasn’t as drinkable. But it was still cheap.
Next to them on the shop shelves however is another type of strong cider. The White Ciders. All at 7.5% volume, I’ve rounded up three strong, white, ciders. The first of which is a little bottle of Diamond White.
The bottle isn’t unusual in shape. But it is quite small. And there doesn’t appear to be much on the labels.
The neck label keeps things simple with only the word “Strong” beneath an illustration of a diamond. That says it all really.
The main front label doesn’t have much on it either. But it’s still the place to look for the details.
The blue background and stylised “Diamond” and “White” lettering looks good. “Strong” is still very prominent. And the 7.5% is neatly positioned to stand out. There’s also the words “Drink Cold” next to what looks like the sort of star symbol that you see on freezers. Not sure if that means you should store it in a freezer or just a fridge.
The back label doesn’t have an awful lot on it either. In fact, it’s mostly barcode with little bits of text around the edges. You get the impression that if they didn’t need a barcode, there would be no back label whatsoever. It really is little larger than a postage stamp.
Prominently positioned next to the Diamond White logo is the units of alcohol symbol. 2.1 for this little bottle. And the smallness of the bottle is confirmed by the label. It is only 275 millilitres. Unusually small, this is the first bottle I’ve seen that has this odd capacity. Also on the back label, it describes itself as “Strong White Cider”. It contains sugar, sweeteners and contains sulphites. Just like every other cider. Yet I’m no clearer on what sulphites are.
There’s still little indication of who is behind Diamond White. Hold on… what is that I see in tiny lettering beneath the barcode? It’s the postal address and name of the manufacturer. I wander who it is? Well stone me, it’s Gaymer again! The same Gaymer Cider Company of Shepton Mallet, Sumerset, England who were behind the excellent K. And if I remember, they were keen on hiding their identity on that cider too. This hints at two things. First, that Gaymer really doesn’t want to be associated with strong ciders. And two, if K was anything to go by, Diamond White will be pretty good. Time to find out.
Pouring it, the reason for the unusual 275 millilitre amount becomes clear: it filled my half-pint glass nicely. The other thing that stood out were how many bubbles were rapidly rising to the surface. So many, and so violently, they cause a quite loud fizzing sound. The last thing that strikes me, is how it looks. It’s a very weak shade of yellow for a cider. Although that could be down to it being a white cider. Until I’ve tried some others, it’s not clear if it’s unusually light in shade or not.
The smell is good though. A light and apple-y smell accompanies Diamond White. But there is something synthetic about the way it smells. Rather like it’s sister cider, K.
A couple of gulps down, and it’s clear that white cider, or Diamond White at least, is a different animal to ordinary cider. It tastes less of apples. And minus the full-flavoured, full-body that I love about cider of the non-white variety. Diamond White is… well… rather watery.
As a cider, this makes it hard to judge. With the tiny amount I’ve had so far, I’d say that it’s somewhere between a dry and a sweet cider. Although I could be wrong on that call.
There are some cider-like qualities still present however. It does taste a little of apples. And, especially when cold, it is quite refreshing. It’s also very easy to drink. And surprisingly, despite how fizzy it is, I didn’t end up burping. Which was a relief.
But I’m not impressed. It doesn’t have the lingering, apple-y, refreshing aftertaste that cider should have. It doesn’t have much taste or flavour at all. And it’s not all that potent either, if that’s what you’re after.
At the end of my glass of Diamond White, I’ve hit upon what white cider is all about. Assuming that Diamond White sums up what the category is all about. Diamond White, or white cider in general is the strong lager of the cider world. Like strong lagers to ales, Diamond White hasn’t got much taste or flavour. But it is strong. And this one is easy to drink, easy to buy and cheap. But, it isn’t as strong, or as delicious as, for example, K. And that makes Diamond White and the other white ciders a puzzle about what their purpose is. With two more white ciders to go in this round-up, there’s still time to figure it out.
What is Diamond White and the phenomenon that is white cider all about? If you’re tried Diamond White or the other white ciders, leave a comment with your thoughts, opinions, ideas, corrections and suggestions.