PERHAPS the most heavily promoted cider in the recent boom is Magners Irish Cider. You can’t have missed the advertisements adorning every commercial break on television, or the billboards on the side of buses. So, cajoled by marketing, I have here a small bottle of Magners:
It’s a nice looking little bottle of cider. The black cap certainly helps it in the style stakes. And the word “Original” is embossed upon the shoulder.
There is no neck label. But it does have golden foil wrapped around it. There is no writing on it, but it does have the Magners logo. And I think that logo could be vats of cider. Can anyone out there confirm?
The classic roundel front label is where everything happens.
The background is golden. Isn’t it always, with cider? The “Magners Irish Cider” banners and logo prominently cut through it. The borders inform us that this is “Magners Original Vintage Cider”.
Inside the borders of this “Original” are all the vital statistics. They proudly tell us that this was “Produced In Ireland By WM. Magner”. That this bottle is the standard 330 millilitre size. And that the cider is the standard 4.5% alcoholic volume. Little sets it apart from the competition on paper at least.
Staying true to cider traditions, there is little to read on the back label.
That said, it does have more of a description than most. They inform us that “Magners Irish Cider is patiently vat matured to deliver a pure, crisp, refreshing flavour and natural character.” At least half of that is almost identical to what it says on the Bulmer’s Original label. But it’s hard to blame them, as there’s little to truly set one cider apart from the rest. Let’s hope this one really is crisp, refreshing and delivers flavour. Bulmer’s didn’t.
The only other details on the back label are either repeated on the front label. Or they are in another language. Which means we have faster the usual, reached the part where I open the bottle to tell you what it’s like. No mention of serving with ice on this bottle, so it’s straight in the glass. Although I’m sure that Magners marketing people would be delighted if you did have they’re cider on ice whilst out with friends on a hot, sunny day.
Pouring Magners Original Irish Cider is exciting. There’s lots of fizz. It never froths up, so you’re completely safe, but there’s lots of action. In the glass, it’s filled with more bubbles than I’ve seen in another other cider or beer. Amazingly for a cider, it leaves a head. Not a patchy few bubbles, but a complete head.
Colour is an orangey gold. A little like toned down apple juice. And the smell is more apple-y than I’ve sniffed for a long time. Not overpowering by any means. Simply a nice, rich smell of apples. Just as a cider should be in my opinion.
A few gulps in, and I’m enjoying this one. The taste is like the smell. And exactly what I expect from a cider; apple-y. Not too strong, simply a good taste of the fruit this is made from. As for the character, it’s not too dry and not too sweet. I may not have tried many, but it seems well balanced.
What do I like about Magners Original Irish Cider? The flavour for one. It actually has a flavour, unlike so many other ciders. And it has the right flavour in the right proportions. It’s not dry. It does what it promises on the label in that it’s crisp and refreshing. Although I suspect mine would be crisper and more refreshing if I’d have thrown some ice cubes into the glass first. Lastly, despite all the fizz, it isn’t too gassy.
What don’t I like about it? Very little compared to other ciders. If I had to nit-pick, I could say that it doesn’t taste of apples enough. Or that it makes you burp. A little. It might be almost flawless compared to other ciders, but even the best cider compared poorly to beer and ale. If you want lots of complex, interesting smells and flavours you won’t them in a cider. Not even a Magners.
For a cider, it’s an excellent specimen. If you want to introduce someone to a good quality example of what a cider should be, this is a good choice. This is probably my favourite normal strength cider. But it’s hard to give it a truly high rating, when you could be enjoying the complex blend of flavours in an ale.
Have you tried Magners Original Irish Cider? What did you think of it?
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