Monday, June 3, 2019

Wicked Grove Elderflower Cider (Aldi)

Apple cider with a floral twist.
A little while ago, Aldi offered a Wicked Grove Variety Pack, which had four bottles of three different cider flavors: apple, green, and elderflower. I was very interested in the elderflower, but didn't have $13 that I was willing to spend on a collection of alcohol that I wasn't even sure I would like: the apple is the same kind that they have available all year long (and that was reviewed earlier), but I do not like green ciders, and wasn't sure what to expect concerning the mix of floral and apple, so I opted not to get it.

At first, I thought I had passed up the only chance I would have to try it, but lo and behold, Aldi offered a standalone six-pack of the green apple cider about a month later. And now, they have done the same thing to the elderflower cider, offering them in six packs for the standard Wicked Grove rate of $6.49 (in Ohio; prices in other states usually cheaper). I bought these the moment I saw them on the shelves, which was about five days earlier than the Special Buy cycle officially began (they tend to put products out early, for those new to the store), and eagerly sat down to a bottle.

I'm still not sure what elderflower is, but it seems to be a popular product as far as alcohol goes: St. Germain, a liquor made from the flower, has been gaining gradual traction in the U.S. market. My first experience with it was in the form of the brilliantly-named and equally-brilliantly conceived Elderflower Spherification Shooter, available at Veritas Tavern, a high-end restaurant in northern Ohio. That drink features an elderflower-flavored “bubble” in the midst of a small collection of vodka and possibly some other liquors that I don't remember—it's ingested by taking it all at once, and popping the bubble in your mouth, which allows it to mix with the other flavors to create a unique drink that's worth every penny of the $6 I paid for it. Obviously, my expectations weren't so high with a bottle of supermarket-grade cider, but I liked the sweetness of the flower, and was looking forward to seeing how it would translate when mixed with apple.

The aroma is quite delectable, with the main notes of apple accented by a floral scent that kind of caught me off guard. I didn't really do any research into elderflower before, but now I see it actually is a flower that is only picked during certain times of the year, and predominantly in European countries. The two smells actually blend together really well, and made me very interested in how the combination would translate on the taste buds.

There, too, it's a modest success; the straightforward sweetness of the apple pairs well with the muted floral notes of the elderflower, resulting in a refreshing drink that vaguely tastes like a sweet champagne. I could see this being used as a mixture for more grandiose conconctions, but right out of the bottle, it's delicious, and something I could easily see myself relaxing with on a hot summer day. I actually like it better than their regular hard apple cider that's available all the time; whereas that is just overly sweet, the elderflower actually mutes some of that sweetness, giving it a well-balanced flavor that is immediately drinkable.

The finish is a little off for me, though, as it goes down with a slightly sharp flavor that's not entirely pleasant. It's hard to explain, but it leads to a metallic aftertaste that lingers in the mouth and just isn't very good, a rather disappointing end to an otherwise pleasant cider experience.

Overall: 7/10. The overwhelming sweetness of their regular red apple cider is muted with the floral notes of elderflower to create a rather delicious combination. The finish misses the mark for me, though, with a metallic taste as it goes down, that leaves a rather bizarre aftertaste lingering in the back of the throat. At $6.49 per 12-pack, it's a great value, and my favorite of the two ciders I've tried so far at the German discount chain. I'm really hoping this isn't the last of the flavors that we'll see them roll out this summer, either. Note that they only carry their red apple variety all the time, meaning this one is a Special Buy, so if you see it and are interested in trying it, you better grab one before they sell out!

2 comments:

  1. In a way I'm kind of envious that your Aldi sells alcohol, none in NY do as far as I know. Then again, from what I hear their alcohol prices aren't really as affordable as say a bottle shop so I don't think I'm really missing much.

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    1. Whoa, I thought virtually every Aldi sold alcohol! Yeah, I'm finding prices can be very hit-or-miss: The original Angry Orchard used to be $7.99, I believe, when it was first released here, which was about what the national brand was charging--now it's dropped to $6.49 which is probably the best cider deal I've seen in Ohio.

      But then their hard root beer is $8.99, which is only a buck or two cheaper than name brand ones, and not really worth it, imo, for six bottles.

      Their wine variety is pretty solid, though: Winking Owls are $4 a bottle and generally very good, while the Moiselle line has some good sweet wines for $6.

      Ironically, I haven't bought alcohol from here in two or three years (this review's been sitting around for awhile, haha), but just picked up some Wicked Grove Rose Cider, so we'll see what that's all about.

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