This semi-dry cider from NV Konings in Zonhoven, Belgium is a light golden colour permeated by an odd greenish hue. More odd is the presence of a small collar and lace when poured into a glass, traits not common to cider. Originating from South Africa in the 1990s, Savanna Dry is made using juice from Elgin Valley apples and has a fairly unique smell among ciders available in Ontario that most closely resembles the slightly sour apple crops that get harvested here in early fall.
The taste of Savanna Dry is ironically saddled with an exaggerated sweetness and countered with a taste that is far closer to sour than anything I’d label as dry. This cider’s most unique trait is a distinct, but soft note of coconut. The sourness takes on an unfortunate vinegar character in the finish, while dryness aided by the addition of citric acid can finally be perceived in the aftertaste.
Though it goes against my personal philosophy of basing a beverage’s merit on how it is “naked”, the suggestion on the yellow 4 pack sleeve to add lemon really does help this product achieve a semblance of balance. Personally, I like to use frozen chunks of lemon as ice cubes in Savanna Dry.
Savanna Dry comes in clear stubby bottles with a logo depicting its eponymous African plains. It also carries the slogan “South Africa’s Premium Cider”, which strikes me as disingenuous given where the cider is actually manufactured. A list of ingredients includes added sugar and apple juice concentrate, caramelized apple juice concentrate and the aforementioned citric acid.
Even at it’s fair price, I cannot recommend Savanna Dry to any cider drinker with discerning taste. If you want a cold, vaguely natural apple-flavoured beverage you can dump ice and lemon in on a hot day, give it a go. Savanna Dry is available at more than 200 LCBO stores here in Ontario and is distributed worldwide.
Please note that I was provided one bottle of Savanna Dry by a PR firm that represents the brand in Canada. This review is based on my experience with a 4 pack that I purchased myself.
Type: Semi-Dry Cider
Brewery: NV Konings
Format Purchased: 4 x 330 ml
Alcohol Content: 5.0%