Many small irregular light lenticels decorate the upper half, and there are a few small patchy streaks of russet. The apple has a sweet cidery smell.
I got this apple late in the year and was not very surprised to find that it was well past its prime. However, I am disappointed. The dry flesh--white, fine-grained--was granular, headed towards mealy. I almost declined to review, but instead will post this and then, perhaps, will have a chance to write a new review of a fresher sample some fine Fall day.
Black Gilliflower's flavor is balanced and mild, with notes of sweet corn and grass. The latter is perhaps from the peel, which is not all all bitter.
The Black Gilliflower is one of several varieties that are sometimes called Sheepnose or Sheep's Nose, due to its elongated shape and the resemblance of its tapered calyx end to an ovisian snout. (The resemblance is more apparent in other varieties.)
An old New England apple, it is today valued variously for its flavor or as a curiosity.
Update: I got a quick taste of this apple again during Tower Hill's heirloom tasting walk. Here are my notes:
Dense light-yellow flesh is yielding though firm, and chewy rather than crunchy. Rather dry. Sweet balanced mild flavor with faint hint of sweet corn; some banana in the finish. A pleasant but not compelling choice.
Further Update September 2012: In the comments below are several heartfelt endorsements of this unusual variety.
Inspired by this devotion I have, since writing this review in 2009, continued to sample this apple when available, from different orchards and with different harvest dates.
I have been disappointed every time.
Chalk it up to bad region for this apple, bad luck, or my own bonehead tastes. If you love this variety, keep eating it. But I will pass.