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Best vintage cider: supermarkets vs Aspall, Henry Westons and more

Looking for a refreshing bottle of apple cider? We've tested leading options to find the tastiest around

Not sure which cider to choose at the supermarket? We asked consumers to blind-taste vintage ciders from big brands and supermarket own labels to help you find the best. 

Our consumer panel tasted and rated 11 sparkling apple ciders from well-known brands and supermarkets including Asda, Aldi, M&S and Sainsbury's to find the tastiest of the crop.

The results showed that there are plenty of 'all right' ciders, but a few standout options - plus a great value Aldi cider for those looking for great taste for less. 

Read on to find out which ciders impressed the most and where's worth stocking up.

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Best vintage ciders

Aspall and Waitrose share the top spot in our taste test, thanks to their good balance of fizziness, sharpness and flavour. 

Best Buy: Aspall Draught Cyder - 73%

36p per 100ml (£1.80 per 500ml bottle)

Aspall Draught Cyder bottle with Best Buy logo

This cider has a slightly lighter apple flavour, but overall our tasters were impressed; it smells nice and the flavour is great. It hits the right note when it comes to sharpness and 72% of people said the level of fizz was just about right. 

Price-wise it's a tad cheaper than average and it's available in a range of supermarkets, so this Best Buy should be easy to get your hands on.

Available from Asda, Ocado, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Best Buy: Waitrose English No.1 Vintage Cider - 73%

47p per 100ml (£2.35 per 500ml bottle)

Waitrose Cider bottle with Best Buy logo

Topping the list alongside Aspall, Waitrose's cider achieves the same high standard when it comes to flavour and overall enjoyment. 

It's a sweeter cider, which some may prefer, but its not overly sweet. In terms of the strength of apple flavour, Waitrose has balanced it beautifully, and like Aspall it has just the right amount of fizz. 

It's the second most expensive cider on test at 47p per 100ml, but we've previously seen it on a three for £5 deal which would make it better value at 33p per 100ml. Watch out for alcohol content, as it's relatively high at 7.3% ABV.

Available from Waitrose.

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Other high scoring ciders: Aldi and Orchard Pig

A notch below the winners, these ciders also rated well for flavour, but didn't quite strike the level of fizziness that our tasters expected. 

Great Value: Aldi Specially Selected Vintage Cider 2019 - 69%

25p per 100ml (£1.89 per 750ml bottle)

Aldi vintage Cider bottle with Great Value logo

Aldi's cheap cider is on par for flavour with top scorers and not too far behind overall. 

However, it's slightly less apple-y, and three in ten people said it wasn't sweet enough - the highest proportion of the top four ciders.

It's the cheapest of the top four ciders by more than 10p per 100ml, and the cheapest on test. The bottle size is slightly larger at 750ml (versus 500ml for others) so it's not the cheapest per bottle, but handy if you've got plenty of glasses to fill.

Available from Aldi.

Orchard Pig Reveller Cider - 69%

40p per 100ml (£2.00 per 500ml bottle)

Orchard Pig Reveller Cider

Another less sweet cider. It's deeper in colour and tastes as good as the other three top scorers, but the balance is different. The flavours seem to be less intense, with four in ten people saying the apple flavour was too weak, and three in ten saying it wasn't sharp enough. 

If you like a lighter touch to your cider, this is a good choice.

Available from MorrisonsOcado and Waitrose.

How Bulmer, Thatchers and other supermarket ciders compare

Line up of different apple cider bottles

There are plenty of decent ciders around if you don't want to go too far out of your way. Sainsbury's, Henry Westons and Lidl cider all got similar scores and weren't too far behind the top picks. 

Here's how the rest of the ciders rated:

  • Henry Westons Medium Dry Vintage Cider - 68%. Flavour wasn't quite as highly rated as the Best Buys - around a third of tasters said it was a bit too sharp, but the level of fizz is spot on. 40p per 100ml (£2 for a 500ml bottle). Available from Asda, Sainsbury's Tesco and Waitrose.
  • Lidl Woodgate 2019 West Country Vintage Cider - 68%. Lidl seems to have found the mid-point on the sweetness and sharpness scales with its cider, but one in five said the apple flavour was a bit weak. It's the second cheapest on test. 28p per 100ml (£1.39 per 500ml bottle). Available from Lidl.
  • Sainsbury's English Vintage Cider, Taste the Difference - 68%. Though rather pale in colour, this cider went down just as well with the tasters as the top scorers. It's on the slightly sweeter side with a good amount of fizz. 35p per 100ml (£1.75 for a 500ml bottle). Available from Sainsbury's
  • Bulmers Original Cider - 65%. Flavour is decent but not at the level of the Best Buys. Half of our tasters said the apple flavour was a little weak and four in ten said it wasn't sweet enough. 40p per 100ml (£2 for a 500ml bottle). Available from Morrisons, Ocado and Waitrose
  • Thatchers Katy Cider - 64%. The apple flavour is a little weak according to a third of tasters and colour is on the paler side too. Three in ten also said it wasn't as sharp as they'd like. 40p per 100ml (£2 for a 500ml bottle). Available from AsdaIcelandMorrisonsOcadoSainsbury'sTesco and Waitrose.
  • Henney's Frome Valley Dry Cider. 63%. This Henney's cider found itself further down the ranking largely due to its bitter aftertaste and dark appearance. Four in ten said it's a little too sharp and that the apple flavour was too weak. 40p per 100ml (£2 for a 500ml bottle). AsdaMorrisonsSainsbury's and Waitrose.
  • M&S Somerset Oak Matured Vintage Cider - 60%. The lowest scorer for flavour, M&S' cider was reported as having a bitter and slightly metallic aftertaste. Half of people said it was too flat, and 58% said it wasn't sweet enough. It's also the most expensive on test. 50p per 100ml (£2.50 for a 500ml bottle). Available from M&S

How alcoholic is cider?

Apple cider bottles on a shop shelf

Cider can be notably potent in terms of alcohol content, and quite variable too, so it's worth checking the bottle before you buy. 

Alcohol by volume (ABV) for the cider in our test ranges from 4.5% for Orchard Pig to 8.2% for Henry Westons. For a 500ml bottle (generally considered to hold two servings) this equates to 2.3 to 4.1 units. 

CiderAlcohol by volume (ABV)
Orchard Pig4.5%

What is vintage cider?

Landscape with an apple orchard

With cider, vintage refers to vintage quality, which basically means the best stuff. There's no agreed measure that defines what 'vintage' actually is though. 

The ciders in our test come from Herefordshire, Somerset and Suffolk. It's no coincidence that a number of the ciders on test come from Herefordshire. H. Weston & Sons, the producer of the Henry Westons brand in Herefordshire, is also named on the supermarket ciders from Aldi, Sainsbury's and Waitrose. 

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How we tested vintage cider

The products were assessed iJune 2022 by a large panel of consumers who regularly buy and consume cider. The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK. 

Each apple cider was served chilled and assessed by 64 people. The panellists rated the taste, aroma, mouthfeel and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one. 

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying. The order they sampled the apple ciders was fully rotated to avoid any bias. Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others.

The overall score is based on:

  • 50% taste
  • 10% mouthfeel
  • 25% aroma
  • 15% appearance

These weightings are based on consumer rankings of the importance of different apple cider attributes.

How to recycle your cider bottles

All of the ciders we tested come in glass bottles, so they're easily recyclable with kerbside glass collections or at bottle banks. 

Prices correct as of 21 July 2022