Based in Highland, New York, Wilklow Orchards has been a fixture in Brooklyn's green markets for over a decade selling apples, sweet cider, and an ever-rotating variety of fruits and baked goods. But it wasn't until more recently that the farm decided to venture into the hard cider business and develop their own recipes for a collection of hard ciders that would both make use of and highlight the Wilklow Orchards excellent apple crops. Selling their products under the label of Bad Seed Cider Co., demand immediately sky-rocketed and Wilklow Orchards has been hard at work developing new recipes and keeping up with demand.
For this tasting, we got our hands on four of Bad Seed Cider's offerings: Dry, Raspberry Reserve, Belgian Abbey, and Bourbon Barrel Reserve. Each offered a unique and distinct flavor profile that simultaneously highlighted the excellent products going into the brew and also demonstrated Bad Seed's creativity and imagination.
A classic and relatively straightforward cider, very pale, straw yellow in color with large carbonation and little head. This Dry cider has aromas of tart apples and slightly sour notes that preview a mouthful of classic cider flavors. With a balanced mildness of both dry and sweet notes and a candied apple aftertaste, this one had a lovely light and drinkable body.
Pouring with a brilliantly vibrant neon color of orange-pinkish coral and active medium bubbles, the Raspberry Reserve is reminiscent of a raspberry ginger ale. The bright color previews a very sweet aroma which reminded us of Jolly Ranchers or even Airhead candies. But upon tasting, the sweetness backs off a bit to a tart and fairly dry cider with a complex mix of apple and raspberry flavors.
Something of a farmhouse cider, Bad Seed Cider's Belgian Abbey has a yellowish straw color with the vaguest of green tinges and medium carbonation with a little head. The scent conjures up an image of a slightly musty and yeasty farmhouse with pleasant earthy notes. These aromas carry into the taste which is only slightly dry with a welcome tartness and grassy earthiness.
Aged in oak barrels, the Bourbon Barrel Reserve cider has a golden, ginger ale-like appearance that instantly draws the nose in for whiffs of unsweetened bubblegum and bourbon cocktails. The BBR sipped with slightly more body than the other Bad Seed ciders with a viscous mouthful and a great balance of sweet and dry. Overall resulting in a drink that was unique and unexpected, but unmistakably cider.