For thirty years Julian Temperley and The Somerset Cider Brandy Company have been reviving the ancient art of Cider Brandy production in the UK. In 1989 his pioneering spirit led to HM customs granting the UK’s first ever full cider-distilling license.
We bottle Somerset Cider Brandy after maturing it in small oak barrels for 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Each bottle can be traced back to its source orchard. In addition we make award-winning liqueurs including Somerset Kingston Black Aperitif and Somerset Pomona. Somerset Cider Brandy is currently the only English Spirt to be protected by a PGI. Our ten year old Somerset Cider Brandy was also the only spirit on the menu at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle.
"Swirled gently in the glass it reminds you of autumn leaves, ripe fruit, wild flowers and the sunshine of the Somerset Countryside"
In 1989 we obtained a beautiful copper still from Normandy. Seventy year old Josephine has been turning our award-winning cider into apple eau de vie ever since. In 1993 she was joined by the slightly smaller and slightly faster Fifi. You can see these French ladies working during the winter months. It takes eleven litres of cider to make just one litre of spirit and 7 tonnes of apples to fill just one small barrel.
It is the apples, the soil and the climate of Somerset which give our Cider Brandy its unique character but the barrels also play a hugely important role in the ageing process. These are carefully selected for the qualities and flavours they impart. In the barrels the spirit mellows and grows richer. While taking on the complex flavours of the oak it loses a small amount of the more volatile alcohol through the wood – ‘the angels’ share’. After twenty years in barrels we believe the brandy has reached its zenith and we stop maturing it.
Shipwreck Somerset Cider Brandy
In 2007, en-route to South Africa, the MSC Napoli was beached off Devon. Its cargo included new, empty Allier oak barrels destined for The Cape’s finest vineyards. Some of the shipwrecked barrels found their way to us, having been protected from the sea by being packed among bibles written in Zulu. Maturing our brandy in these barrels gives a sophisticated finish worthy of single cask bottling. We now buy new barrels from the same cooperage. The finely grained new Allier oak is what creates the distinctive smoked, oaky taste of Shipwreck.