Stem’s “Banjo” sports a distinctly golden hue and supports a collection of very tiny, very quickly rising bubbles. The bourbon barrel aging is on display in the distinctly vanilla notes that cast a thin veil over aromatic profile. That profile also includes a distinctly smokey character, notes of fresh apple, and a sweet herbaceous entry. All in all its delivers a very compelling nose. A light to medium bodied cider that hits the palate with its alcohol spread wide for all to see, despite its mere 6.9% levels. Both tannin and acid show up to support the body. As for the flavors, there is a certain bitterness to this cider, that mingles with a woodiness, somewhat subdued fresh apple notes and a quinine notes. The finish is where the tannin shows up to join the show, giving the impression of something long and lasting. This is assertive hard cider that does an excellent job of showing off its ageing vessel. It could pair well with more substantial foods. However, one must truly appreciate the character of the barrel to appreciate this cider.
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