Somerset Cider Brandy is produced by Somerset Royal at Pass Vale Farm in Burrow Hill near Martock. The current owner is Julian Temperley who has over thirty vintages to his credit. There are historical records of cider brandy production dating back to 1678 but the revival of Cider Brandy production really took off when the Somerset Cider Brandy Company was grated the first full cider distilling licence in recorded history in 1989. After four year battle with Brussels, on October 22nd 2011, Somerset Cider Brandy was granted European Union Protected Geographical Indication status (PGI).
Apples have been grown for cider at Burrow Hill for over 150 years. The soil, climate and the apple varieties are what give Somerset Royal ciders and Somerset Cider Brandy their unique characteristics. There are 150 acres of orchards and over 40 different varieties grown. Varieties include Kingston Black, Dabinett, Stoke Red, Yarlington Mill and Harry Masters. The blending of these different varieties is the key to cider production and is currently the responsibility of Tim Stoddart and Julian Temperley.
Apples are gathered in the Autumn, pressed and blend prior to fermentation in large oak vats. After three months the cider is then distilled one of two continuous Coffey Stills (two column copper stills from Calvados named Josephine and Fifi), with no additions made to the cider. The first and last parts of the distilling are discarded and only the “heart” of the distillation is used – this is very pure, clean alcoholic spirit. The clear, colourless cider young cider brandy (at this stage an eau-de-vie) is then transferred into old sherry casks or new oak barrels from Hungary or the Limousin or Alliers forests of France for ageing.
The Ten Year Old is aged for ten years in a mixture of these barrels at one of two bonded warehouses in Burrow Hill village. It is in the barrel where the transformation from young spirit to cider brandy takes place. The spirit interacts with the oak barrels, some is lost due to evaporation (the angel’s share) and, with time, the brandy takes on tannins, colour, flavour and character from the oak barrels and becomes softer and mellower.
Somerset Ten Year Old Cider Brandy rich and aromatic on the nose. The expansive nose has aromas of baked apples, spices (cloves, nutmeg and vanilla) and creaminess to it too. The palate is rich, rich soft and full. As expected there are apple flavours, with green apple developing into baked apple notes as well as slight slight raisin and toasty, vanilla, oaky characteristics. The palate has very good depth and length and is very clean. Harmonious, complex and warming.
This Ten Year Old Cider Brandy is a perfect as a digestif to end a good meal. However it is also great with chocolates, chocolate dessert and apple based desserts or cakes. It is even a good match with a fine Cuban cigar.
Please note we currently stock the Somerset 5 Year Old Cider Brandy.