The world of cider is vast. And fascinating. And vibrant and labyrinthine and ancient and changing and complex. Above all, it is delicious.
And yet, compared to beer or wine or spirits, it remains a tucked-away treasure. A whispered-of secret. A world that is still little known and less understood.
That’s where we come in.
Cider Review has been built out of the articles and reviews we previously wrote for over a year on malt-review.com. Our attempt to cover, as fully as possible, the world of sensitively made, high juice content, aspirational cider. As well as the people and places collectively stitching the fabric of the cider community.
Our aim is to write about cider independently and thoughtfully. In a way that takes cider seriously but with a bit of fun too. We’re not afraid to challenge or critique where we feel it is important and relevant to do so, but fundamentally we’re here to share with you, the consumer, our love for one of the world’s most exciting and underexplored drinks.
New to cider? Tremendous – welcome! There’s so much for you to discover. We try not to assume any knowledge, and if you bookmark the site and spool through our articles you’ll be well-versed in no time. We’ve also created our own Taxonomy of Cider here, which we hope will help as a guide to unfamiliar styles and methods as well as to the way we categorise any given cider. Naturally twinned with that is our list of apples and pears by the flavours they present in a cider and perry. We firmly believe that talking about the different flavours and properties of individual varieties is key to understanding why cider or perry tastes as it does, and what your own preferences are … but we realise that most apple and pear names are still unfamiliar, and this list is our contribution towards changing that.
Want to explore further – or, more importantly, taste a few yourselves? Head to our resources page of cider shops we use as well as other cider blogs and podcasts that inspire us, that we love to follow, and that we hope you’ll really enjoy. (Please don’t enjoy them more than this one though.)
And of course if you’re a long-standing cider lover then excellent news! You’re among friends.
This remarkable drink, we feel, is gathering momentum. Books are being written, websites full of fascinating insight are being launched, podcasts bursting with just as much are broadcasting every week. All over the world, inspirational people are creating a place for cider.
Cider Review is our attempt to do the same.
So who actually are we?
Well, the long-term aim is to become a whole bunch of people! Cider needs more advocates, and we would love to make space for them here. In the meantime, Cider Review’s content is mainly written and edited by Adam Wells and James Finch.
Adam has been plunging down the rabbit hole of interesting drinks since rather before he should have been. He has worked in wine for all of his professional life and for most of that time has come home in the evening and written about something else.
For six years he wrote about whisky, including four years as a contributor to Malt, where he helped it become the most-read whisky website in the world.
Cider was always his pub go-to, but he got serious around five years ago, and in 2020 curated a weekly cider column on Malt which, despite being somewhat off-brand, attracted over 150,000 readers in its first year. Cider Review is the natural evolution of that column, as well as a repository for all of the cider tasting notes that one slot a week wouldn’t let him publish.
Adam has written about cider and perry for Full Juice Magazine, Pellicle, jancisrobinson.com, Burum Collective, Cider Voice, and Graftwood, which he has also co-edited. He contributed the UK section to Le Journal du Sommelier – Cidre has judged cider for the International Cider Challenge and is on the the inaugural cider judging panel of the IWSC. He is thwarted in his efforts to write more by a small cat called Nutmeg who loves sitting on keyboards.
James discovered cider in 2012 on a holiday in Somerset, having not really drunk alcohol at all before then. A moment of realisation on a beautiful sunny day at a cider farm kicked off a journey that has led to this moment.
Not being one to do things by halves, James sought out all ciders he could easily get his hands on, plus the ones out of reach, coming out the other side with a very broad appreciation for the variety that cider offers and a self declared title of The Cider Critic.
James has written for Crafty Nectar’s blog, helping it to become the “number 1 cider blog in the world” back in 2018. As well as his own blog: The Cider Critic, Malt, CAMRA’s Learning and Discovery Pages, Full Juice magazine, Graftwood and local printed publications. Moving towards video blogging, James has been doing Fine Cider Friday videos on his YouTube Channel for over two years, as well as many Instagram Live events where he has given platforms to small producers and toured the world virtually with Adam. He is also the Chairman for the International Cider Challenge 2021.
All the writing, drinking and travelling has led to James falling in love with apple trees, orchards and the craft of cider making. Now a producer himself with Chapel Sider hoping to launch in late 2021.