Cider Review: Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy

I STOPPED trying to review cider for good reason. Trying to review them was like comparing potatoes. There’s not much to choose between them, and at the end of it all, you wish you hadn’t bothered. Nowadays I only bother if I find one that is genuinely different and closer to the mythical ‘Real Cider,’ or if it’s been recommended in the comments section. With both of those conditions being true, feast your eyes upon this: Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy.

Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy bottle

Look carefully, and you’ll spot the reasons why I couldn’t miss the chance to try Old Rosie. First is that it’s cloudy. You can see sediment at the bottom of the bottle. That’s not something you see in many, if any bottled ciders. Second, this Old Rosie is Westons Old Rosie.

Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy neck label

Readers who have bookmarked or subscribed here might remember way back how much I liked Westons Premium Organic Cider and Henry Westons Vintage Special Reserve Cider. What you can’t see on the bottle is the price tag. I procured this bottle from Nisa Local on London’s Old Street for the exorbitant price of £2.25 pence.

Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy front label

For that wallet-emptying price, you get front and back labels that are clear and straightforward. On the front label, there are simply the facts you need to know, to help you decide whether to buy it or not. And, for some reason, a picture of a steam roller. I can only guess that they are working through clip-art of traditional imagery, and that the next product will feature an anvil or a turnip. Nevertheless, this press release answers some questions.

Seam rollers aside, it says everything you need to know. Specifically, that it is “Cloudy Scrumpy” called “Old Rosie” that has been “Inspired by Tradition”. Toward the bottom are the vital statistics and a brief description. Westons describe it as “ lightly carbonated traditional scrumpy cider fully matured in old oak vats”. Even as just a part-time cider drinker, I like the sound of that. Those vital statistics are that this is your regular 500ml bottle and that the alcoholic volume is a heady 7.3%.

Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy back label

The back label is off-putting until you realise that nearly all of it is taken up with foreign language translations. Nevertheless, there are a few details worth reading. There is at the top a more detailed description of Old Rosie. They describe it thusly:

“A light, crisp and dry lightly carbonated scrumpy cider. Allowed to settle out naturally after fermentation to retain its cloudy appearance. Gently invert to ensure an even distribution of natural apple sediment.”

I don’t normally copy entire descriptions verbatim, but then I’ve never tried a cider that has so much to explain. Who am I to argue with the label? I will try holding it upside down for a minute or so before opening.

After that, we quickly reach small-print details, which I shall reel off in quick succession. The web address is www.westons-cider.co.uk. The Ledbury, Herefordshire postal address is on there. The cider does contain “sulphites to preserve freshness”. It is best served chilled and is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs. Westons are a member of The National Association of Cider Makers. And, at 7.3% alcoholic volume in a 500ml bottle, it weighs in at 3.7 UK units of alcohol. So women, even a single bottle of this stuff it too much for you. Not that the women of Cardiff or Scotland will pay much attention to that.

With all of that out of the way, it’s time for the fun part and the reason you’re reading. What does Westons Old Rosie taste like? Will it be noticeably better than the big-name brands? Will it be worth the huge premium? The only way to find out will be to hold my fridge cooled bottle upside down for a minute and crack it open. When it’s the right way up, obviously.

Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy poured into a glass

The whole process or turning it upside down for a couple of minutes was an interesting one. You could see the sediment slowly tumbling downwards to the top. Careful balancing, and you can get the bottle to sit upside-down on its top.

Pouring it was no problem. Westons Old Rosie is so lightly carbonated that there is no foam whatsoever. In fact, I can hardly see any bubbles in it at all. In the glass, it is the cloudiest and most naturally looking hue of straw-yellow I’ve ever seen.

How does Westons Old Rosie smell? Mildly of apples. Just as you’d hope for. But there’s a difference. Many ciders smell of apples in the same way that air-fresheners can smell of alpine berries; artificially. Old Rosie on the other hand smells like there are squished up scrumpy apples in the glass.

How does Westons Old Rosie taste? The first sip was an easy and pleasant one that made me burp moments later. As did the second one. But the taste is worth it. The label described it as “light, crisp and dry lightly carbonated”. I can’t disagree with those words. It is quite simply all of those words, together with a natural taste of apples and the tangy, citrusy quality that goes with it. The flavour is a light one of apples. And the aftertaste is a strong one of apples, bitterness, tanginess and citrus. Imagine eating a scrumpy apple. Drinking Old Rosie is a little like that, but in pleasant liquid form.

What am I enjoying about Westons Old Rosie? In two words, a lot. This is the most natural, proper and closest to ‘Real Cider’ that I’ve had the pleasure of trying. I like how natural it smells. I like that you can taste the sediment in each sip. I like very much how natural and apple-y it tastes. Yes, it does have a slightly bitter aftertaste, but not an off-putting one. If it was a beer, I’d describe it as well-balanced or bittersweet, because it’s neither very sweet, not very bitter. It’s not too gassy, with the burps soon subsiding. I also like how strong it is at 7.3% and the exclusivity of it.

What am I not enjoying about Westons Old Rosie? Unless you hate all cider, it’s difficult to find any reason to dislike Old Rosie. If I had to nitpick, I could say that the strong-ish finish to the taste could put off some girls and alcopop drinkers. I don’t think lager drinkers will be fazed by the aftertaste one jot, though. It is a palaver to find somewhere that sells it, and to serve it at the right temperature with the turning the bottle upside down first. But the biggest complaint is the price. Old Rosie may well become my favourite bottled cider, but at this price, I won’t be buying many bottles to take over to friends and family to spread the word.

How can I sum up Westons Old Rosie? It has completely won me over. By some distance, it is better than any other cider I’ve reviewed so far. I may not be able to tolerate mainstream cider ever again. Yes, it’s scarce and expensive, but that natural scrumpy taste and cloudiness make it worthwhile. Yes, it is that good.

Rating: 4.45

Have you tried Westons Old Rosie? What did you think? Leave your opinions, corrections, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

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18 Responses to “Cider Review: Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy”

  1. Curmudgeon Says:

    Around here it’s available in Morrisons at £1.69 a bottle, or £5.50 for four, so hardly wallet-emptying.

    I agree it’s good stuff, the closest to traditional draught cider you can get in a bottle.

  2. Hereford Man Says:

    You can buy a 2ltr bottle @ £4-89 at your shop local store.

  3. Mark Jeffs Says:

    Dear boys, this is nothing like how cider used to be. Sparkling?!! What! I was weaned on Green Devon Cider made in a shed by two pickled old men – this is the closest I can find to that Ambrosia;

    Sandford Orchards Devon Scrumpy not the fancy ones just the one that was the CAMRA CHAMPION CIDER OF GREAT BRITAIN 2010, 2 litre is a bargain.

    http://www.sandfordorchards.co.uk/products/

    BTW enjoyed your pickled cucumber reviews, I eat them a lot in Russia. Russian cider now thats a different story…

    Hic, Mark

  4. Sweet Coppin Says:

    Come to the 3 counties for real cider…Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Buy it at the farm gate for real home made appeal, or at farmers’ markets. Try Malvern Oak Dry Reserve or any of Mike Henney’s Herefordshire produced ciders for the real stuff. Packed full of traditional cider apple varieties… you’ll never drink mass produced stuff that’s never seen an apple again.

  5. bd Says:

    they sell that in my college bar, 1.80 a bottle, lovely stuff, one of its most popular drinks

  6. outside.looking.in Says:

    This used to be the only real cider you could get in spoons, the strength of which fueled my student drinking days. I think there are better strong ciders about, like once from Thatchers, or Cheddar Valley (which may actually belong to Thatchers?) – The westcountry is the place to be for zider.

  7. Graham Says:

    I really like the reviews that you do, I have to agree that Old Rosie is one of the best ciders out there. A very pleasing package to look at, and a great taste. It even looks good on camera!

    There are a few other ciders I’d recommend.
    Firstly, this is perhaps the ultimate summer drink. Brothers pear and strawberry cider. A truly wonderful creation, technically a perry not a cider (no apples). But without doubt one of the most refreshing drinks out there. Plus the colour is just amazing!
    (sold in asda, sainsburys & morrisons)

    For something more traditional drink, then you should pop down to morrisons and buy a bottle of westons stowford press export. One of their best creations.

    And finally, very worth checking out Aspall cider (or as they spell it cyder). Firstly the shape of the bottle is just so different from normal cider, a slim and elegant design. And the taste is fantastic!

  8. Liam Says:

    that looks very yummy, my favourite cider i have tried is brothers toffee apple, Just wondering if you know of any other companies that make similar to the brothers ciders of your knowledge

    cheers

  9. Alex Gray Says:

    They sell in it Wetherspoon Pubs in Middlesbrough. They keep it in boxes in the fridge there’s no fizz in it at all. £2:40p a pint. Great drink you know you’ve had a drink when you’ve had a few pints of Old Rosie. They also sell Marcle Hill that’s by Westons 7.4%. It’s a clear still cider really nice.

  10. Marc Kitto Says:

    I’m a genuine pasty eater so I knows my cyders. When I’ve finished a hard days mucking out I would normally enjoy a refreshing sup of Betty Stoggs but this weekend past my wife had been to Bookers and came back with a crate of this. Needless to say I was not ‘appy and showed her the back of me hand. In hindsight I may have been a bit hasty because this is indeed a fine tasting, if a tad sweet and bubbly cyder. In any case she knows to ask first now, so no harm done.

    Cheers.

  11. jack Says:

    I tried old rosie for the first time on monday, poured from a pump, And it made for a wonderful drinking experience, we have had some brilliant weather over the last few days.

    On tuesday we went back to the same pub, and i decided to have 4 pints of the stuff, Let’s just say – that made for a nice afternoon kip haha.

  12. scotty Says:

    lidl have this on offer at £1.29 for 500ml. not tried it yet but I’m gonna go grab some (if they have it in) on Monday.

  13. Lee Robertson Says:

    £1.29 at lidl’s! I bought 4 to see what it was like, just finished my fourth bottle and I am rather pished to tell you the truth, wish I bought more! This stuff f*cks you up big time and it tastes bloody good too!!! :-D

  14. Rob Says:

    Had some old rosie on the weekend at the Allied Arms in Reading from a pump. People kept on warning me off it possibly because it’s 7.3%. It’s surprisingly easy to drink. Anyway after a few pints of this I was quite a happy chappy and ended up dancing in a local club.

  15. frank brand Says:

    Some good comments above I will have to check out some of the ciders that are mention as my favourite drink is cider and like finding and trying new ciders.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Love the bottled version of this drink and generally have it at the start of the night to give me a bit of zip before heading into town. Little disappointed with the polypin version sold in our local Wetherspoons as the flavour seems to diminish and the bitter aftertaste becomes stronger. Unfortunately one of it’s main strengths (the alcohol percentage) is also it’s weakness as a number of pubs have stopped serving it on draught as people get drunk on it vepvillers@hotmail.comry quickly and start trouble. Love this drink and have bought a load for a mate’s birthday this weekPaulend, party time!

  17. Old Rosie | Möku Says:

    [...] pikemalt tahab süveneda, see võib alustada sellest pikast hindavast blogipostist: http://hywelsbiglog.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/cider-review-westons-old-rosie-cloudy-scrumpy/ Juttu tehakse küll pudeliversioonist, aga neil on olemuslikult väga väike [...]

  18. lollwisdom Says:

    Are we all sure it is the real thing? Is it clear that the apples are local and not made from foreign concentrate juice?

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