Cider Review is an attempt to cover, as fully as possible, the world of sensitively made, high juice content, aspirational cider and perry. As well as the people and places collectively stitching the fabric of the communities around them.
Via long-form articles and detailed reviews, our aim is to write about cider and perry independently and thoughtfully. In a way that takes our subject 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 two of the world’s most exciting and underexplored drinks.
New to cider and perry? 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, 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. Rounding off our trio of guides to the drinker is a page on identifying faults and off flavours in cider — still all-too-commonly found in bottles and boxes of every price point around the world.
Want to explore further — or, more importantly, taste a few yourselves? Head to our resources page of cider shops we use as well as cider books, podcasts and other blogs that inspire us, that we love to follow, and that we hope you’ll enjoy. (Please don’t enjoy them more than this one though.)
And of course if you’re already a long-standing cider lover then excellent news! You’re among friends.
These remarkable drinks, we feel, are 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 and perry.
Cider Review is our attempt to do the same.
So who actually are we?
Cider Review was founded in 2021 by Adam Wells and James Finch, built out of a cider column that Adam had previously cultivated on Malt Review. We’ve since, unexpectedly, been joined by a dedicated corps of volunteer writers, but James and Adam still produce most of the content and manage the editorial load.
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 (now integrated into this site), 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 and in 2021 was presented with a 50th Anniversary Golden Award from CAMRA in recognition of his significant contribution to cider.
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 2023.
“Adam is the key cider writer in the UK” – Gabe Cook (The Ciderologist)
Adam has been plunging down the rabbit hole of interesting drinks since rather before he should have been. His first job was stacking bottles in the wine industry and for most of the time since he 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 2015 and in January 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 Pellicle, jancisrobinson.com, Burum Collective, Full Juice Magazine, Cider Voice, and Graftwood, which he has also co-edited. He contributed the UK section to Le Journal du Sommelier – Cidre and judges for the International Cider Challenge, the IWSC and (most importantly) the Yew Tree Challenge.
Now living in Reading, he is thwarted in his efforts to write more by an amateur theatre habit he can’t quite kick and a small cat called Nutmeg who loves sitting on keyboards.