Gilpin is a cider apple, so it may or may not be good to eat.
Bitter? Sourball? Let's see.
This medium-sized fruit is ribbed, lumpy, and riddled with stress-lines of russet.
It's pretty well blushed over yellow-green, dark in spots. The small light lenticels get lost with all the other stuff on the surface of this apple.
Gilpin has a cidery aroma and a shiny, waxy skin.
Inside Gilpin is yellow flesh, medium fine-coarse, firm but dry and more chewy than crisp. It oxidizes fast--as I write this, before I am even done with my first bite.
This is not a sour apple, indeed all its flavors are quite mild. The best part is at the beginning, where there is the most sweetness and juice, fresh with a hint of berries. Alas that fades quickly and the chew dries out as some bitter notes of the peel assert themselves. In between there is something a bit like potato.
Meanwhile the apple flesh develops deep brown sections and streaks on contact with the air, not an attractive prospect.
Of course none of this signifies for hard cider, but I wonder what virtues Gilpin brings to the cider press.
It's not especially sweet (which balances for eating, though, because there is next to no acidity) so no great mass of sugar (useful to make alcohol). It has no compelling flavors sweet or sour, though the initial fleeting taste is all right.
At first, European settlers would have made cider from whatever pippins were handy. I imagine that for Gilpin to have been cultivated for cider it must have been especially good for something.
Lee Calhoun's survey of apples of the South (where this variety was known as Carthouse) says Gilpin was thought a good keeper whose bruises did not rot. That would have been worth something back in the day.
He also reports it grows crisper in storage, which would be something to see. I have no more Gilpins this year though.