Review: Harvey’s Bristol Cream
One of my (many) bad habits that understandably gets on the nerves of Mrs Thecocktailgeek is the fact that I am seemingly unable to visit the local supermarket without popping down the spirits aisle to check out what’s new; resulting in even the quickest of shopping trips being unnecessarily protracted. Recently it has been noticeable that my detours have yielded dividends more frequently than in the past, with an improving selection, and some rather good bargains to be had. During these trips, there are a lot of products that I pass by for one reason or another. Sometimes it is because I know I don’t like them, sometimes it’s because I already have them at home, and sometimes because the price isn’t right. There are some however, that I’m not quite sure why I pass them by, for none of the above apply yet I still don’t stop to pick up a bottle.
One such product is Harveys Bristol Cream, and I’m pretty sure the reason is some deep-seated prejudice against a product that I have always associated with my grandparents booze cupboard rather than the back bar of my favourite cocktail bar. Sometimes prejudices should be challenged however and so I set about trying out this oh so British of tipples.
Created in the 1860s, Harveys Bristol Cream is a blend of Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez sherry’s to create a unique product that has clearly withstood the test of time. Nonetheless, it is a one that has a bit of an ‘old fashioned’ reputation and so it was interesting to see a new marketing campaign titled ‘Harvey’s Half Hour‘ is trying to open up the product to a new demographic.
The first thing that struck me when reviewing the product was how totally wrong my memory of this sherry was. It certainly is full of character, with a nose that instantly brings about memories of childhood Christmas’ through its sweet fruity aromas that have more than a hint of festive spice about them. Poached apples, treacle, raisin and a hint of oak all make an appearance and I just couldn’t help but dive right in.
The palate is equally bold in it’s flavours although does lack a little complexity. It is very easy-drinking and sweet raisin predominates throughout. It’s less cloying than I remember although when served neat a alive of orange does help open up the palate significantly. The intense raisin and treacle flavours make it an enjoyable product to mix with and I found it worked very well indeed in a number of different cocktails. Its characteristic flavours make a good base on it’s own, but it also works well when used to complement other spirits.
Signature Cocktail: Harvey’s Frosted Apple and Ginger
50ml Harvey’s Bristol Cream
50ml pressed apple juice
Pour Harvey’s Bristol Cream and apple juice into highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with a cinnamon stick and mint sprig.
Harvey’s Bristol Cream is a great value sherry that has an undeserved old-fashioned image. It is full of nutty and raisin-y flavours that make it great fun to mix with and actually rather tasty on its own!
Harvey’sBristol Cream is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.