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Home > Spirits > Brandy > Cider Brandy > Somerset Cider Brandy Co. XO
Imagine a really good apple strudel – lovely cooked apple, raisins, sultanas, cinnamon, a hint of clove – then add a touch of citrus zest, loads of dark caramel and a little honeysuckle and orange blossom. As good as anything you can find from a certain region across the Channel that rhymes with shmalvados. Exceptional!
“Imagine a really good apple strudel - lovely cooked apple, raisins, sultanas, cinnamon, a hint of clove - then add a touch of citrus zest, loads of dark caramel and a little honeysuckle and orange blossom. As good as anything you can find from a certain region across the Channel that rhymes with shmalvados. Exceptional!”
MEET THE PRODUCERS
Historical evidence confirms the production of cider in England since William the Conqueror’s Norman Knights brought the custom over from France. Some argue it was already here, with Saxons producing ‘aeppelwin’ even before they got to Britain. A couple of hundred years after that famous Kentish battle and England has its first distilled drink, apple cider brandy, with historical records confirming its production in Somerset as far back as 1560, if not before.
Pre-dating gin by at least 130 years, Somerset Cider Brandy genuinely is England’s original distilled drink. So popular was it that in 1710 it even warranted its own tax bracket. Sadly the proliferation of inexpensive grain-based spirits (London Gin & Scotch Whisky) saw Cider Brandy almost completely die out. That is until about 300 years later when Julian Temperly began the arduous process of applying for a craft distilling licence in 1984. Incredibly commonplace across Europe but almost completely unheard of (ie forgotten) in the UK, it took several years and some creative uses of alternative licences for The Somerset Cider Brandy Company to finally produce its first bottle of commercially available cider brandy.
Then in 2011, Somerset Cider Brandy was awarded Protected Geographical Indication status, joining the likes of Calvados, Cognac and Champagne in having a legally protected name with legal requirements ensuring the quality of production.
Using Josephine and Fifi, a pair of beautiful French copper pot stills, and only using freshly pressed apple juice in every drop of cider that is distilled, each bottle of Somerset Cider Brandy can be traced back to its source orchard.
And with nearly 40 years of distilling knowledge and several generations of cider-making know-how, Julian and his family are rightly proud of having revived this wonderful, indigenous drink, an important part of the rich gastronomic history of our storied islands.
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