Having worked for a cider producer in Normandy, I realised that, whilst the UK has a long tradition of drinking cider, the craftsmanship of this industry had slowly faded.
With the knowledge that the best cider comes from great apples, I carefully selected our orchard's varieties and set out to create Novar's unique blend, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.
In 2020, after years of study, we launched our product: a craft cider with dry, refreshing citrus notes, tannins that deepen its flavour and a light sparkle.
The Highlands has an abundance of apples, but these are primarily acidic apples or cookers! Acidic apples are crucial to cider making on a microbial level, but they lend very little in terms of flavour.
The style of cider I chose to focus on and learnt to make in Normandy requires tannins: phenolic compounds that give cider a depth of flavour which cookers struggle to provide.
I knew, however, that Normandy apples would struggle in Scotland. I could grow Normandy apples in my Highland orchard, but I would struggle to ripen their skins, with their glowing mix of sunflower yellow and sunset reds blossoming from acidic greens. I looked closer to home, and headed down to Hereford, which is well-known for its tannic apples.
When I first started enquiring about growing Hereford apples in the Highlands, I was met with a mix of perplexity and disbelief, until I met John Worle, a renowned apple grower. With John’s help, I planted 21 Hereford apple varieties alongside Highland heritage apples, which is what makes Novar’s orchard unique. Today, the orchard has grown to 3000 trees, and yields a rich harvest that ensures our cider is produced fully in-house.
I hope you enjoy Nøvar and its blend of Highland cookers, vintage Hereford varieties, and inspiration from Normandy.