Let me temper all of the forthcoming honey prattling with a qualifying statement: I don’t know shit about meads. I mean, sure I know they are honey fermented alcoholic beverages served still and that they are usually expensive as fuck, but in the grander scope of nuance and a tempered ability to evaluate them to any meaningful degree: you are better off going elsewhere. That being said, DDB’s opinion is the gold standard so prepare yourself for the magnum opus of mead evaluations in today’s review:
First things first, mad props to Jonathan Jacob Mahnke for donating this set to DDB. At $75 a bottle, I undoubtedly wasn’t going to sack up $300 for this set. He is a honeycomb hero amongst men. But are these worth that insane cost of entry that makes 2015 Goose Island Rare look like a discount by contrast? Well, yes and no. Berry White alone is a complete stunner and lovingly held my hand through a sticky spring romp in the berry patch. The sheeting is substantial and the glass is easily coated and stained with a long tannic Robitussin drag. Your palate enjoys the same fate with this blast of Granache meets Sweeeet Pinot Noir, boysenberry and jammy goodness. It never becomes cloyingly sweet and maintains a poised gentle preserves profile that resonates like shouting into the Smuckers canyon and hearing your words reverberate in cascading Malbec dankness.
The bad: this will be tough as shit to take down by yourself. Yes I realize the swingtops are meant for continued enjoyment and you dont NEED to drill them solo or in one sitting. This is more an indictment of mead sweetness in general as Superstition across the board is world class and outmatched only by the god tier Schramm’s offerings. I say that with high praise for The Statement and its progeny, but these are simply amazing and a more “aggressive” execution of Ken’s model. Let’s take a look at a way shittier flavor:
Far right: the jankiest of the bunch. I wholeheartedly cannot lend my support to the blackberry deivant in this lineup. This was the first one that I tried and I braced myself for continuing disappointment, which never came. The blackberry is offputting and comes across as a sort of Torani syrup triple pump into a saccharine base that makes this toe the realm of a mineral/earthy cough syrup. When the others are so so much better, it is a strangely aberrant offering.
Spend that $75 clapping stacks on a four song dance special.
Fear not, the Blueberry version flexes its traps hard in the yard. The whole affair just has the undercurrent of pancake desires built into it. The fruit is pleasant but pangs of IHOP and sticky confectioner’s pastries. It is lightly tart and reminds me of the center of a jelly danish, this awesome dry merlot tannic closer rounds out the experience in an incredible way. I was going to flat out say that this was the best one in the bunch, but then this mindblowing, God-tier mead showed itself:
This strawberry strap on pegs your tastebuds hard and you don’t need a safety word. I had the lowest expectations for this one as strawberry usually 1) comes across as artifical or 2) goes to plasticland real quick. This is not only an exceptional mead, it might be one of the best fruited beverages I have ever had and easily the best expression of strawberry I have ever encountered. This captures both the light tartness of the white fleshy interior of the berry and couples it with the seedy stickiness of the outside. It is muddled fruit leather but the over the top Gushers/Squeezits expression that you encounter in the fruit snack aisle from your childhood. I could easily drink an entire bottle of this, at any temp, under the vilest of conditions.
It never distracts or overstays its welcome and I would put this toe to toe with Schramms’ best bottles, just short of Statement Reserve and Heart of Darkness. Sure, $75 is a lot of Arby Q’s, but seriously this is strawberry incarnate, the Megazord of fruit expression stomping out the sickly sweet Zed-meads of the world. I absolutely urge you to seek this one out.
OH SHIT BONUS MEAD REVIEW:
At first when I saw this 82 bottle release, I knew it was the typical Florida shit i.e. taking a page from the Upright Sole Comp jokebook and putting out a double digit release. Then of course I had to make the hackneyed Struise joke, bc obvious. But at the end of the day, is Garagiste worth your time? Is it worth a slot in a fukn membership?
I am not tryna tell you what to do with your disposable income, but this is really fucking good. While not as substantial as the Superstition meads, this has a more tart and dry finish than the others almost mirroring that skins and berry finish you encounter in Hommage, albeit served right in the strike zone like a sweet Napa Cap. It is big, it has good sheeting and legs with an intense berry profile but the whiskey and barrel aspects never really make themselves known. Perhaps it is that subtle integration that is the praiseworthy aspect, I would have to try the non-BA version for any reference point.
This is unquesetionably very tasty, but it would be more of a special occasion beverage or something to be shared with fellow parolees at an NA meeting. I couldn’t finish the whole bottle, but I would savor the shit out of 5 ounces. Again, it is hardly fair to evaluate the format and specs inherent to mead as some sort of valid criticism. It’s like the type of dumbfuck who compares bourbon to beer and presents that tired myopic refrain “YA BUT WITH BOURBON IT LASTS LONGER AND MULTIPLE SERVINGS AND BEER ITS JUST ONE SERVING AND I ENJOY POINTING OUT THINGS INHERENT TO BEVERAGES.”
Oh and I also found this cranberry mead that I got like 5 years ago that I totally forgot about:
And it too was pretty tasty, but you didn’t come here to see me clean out cabinets or talk about how I cured my UTI with cranberry mead. Wait you wanna hear about my UTI? Where are you going-
IN A HONEYSUCKLE CONCLUSION: Get it, share it, you will fucking love all of these meads. Except that Blackberry, fuck Blackberry White.