Well @standardmeadery has skyrocketed up the honeyphlle ranks since we reviewed them last year. Most of the ‘comb bros leverage homebrew tier meadery projects to pad their own pockets, predicated on inaccessiblity, but sometimes the buzz is justified.
If @schrammsmead is the Hill Farmstead of the mead world, taking classic expressions with novel interpretations on form, then Standard is the Wakefield. For Grace is an exaggeration of all pre-existing melomel models and ramps everything up. At 11.5% abv you wouldn’t expect that sheer Grape Fanta soda syrup sheeting and legs, or the intensely sweet grenadine/Torani vanilla pump to it. It needs to exist as a threshold indicator.
With a 4.7 on Untappd, this mead is well received and shared liberally. The vanilla is so present that it becomes a parody of vanilla in a waxy, sheetcake, dollop of fondant sort of way. Does it need to be present? That’s like asking whether cobbler improves the fruits it contains. It is dependent on context. The sticky currant feels like a massive napa cab meets a dessert wine, blackberry preserves, italian sodas with the mixtures heavily favoring the syrup additions.
I prefer drier meads. This reminds me a lot of Schramm’s The Duel. Same black currant, similar abv, similar format, similar untapped rating, but the Duel felt so delicate, and this feels like a glucose heel strike to the temple from Jon Jones. I’m dazed, but in awe.
The tiny cologne bottle format is perfect and perhaps lends itself to sharing. It is dripping in complexity and layers, but like a Charlie Kaufman movie, maybe that’s not what some people want. The saccharine aspects are lightly tempered by the black cherry, but they are folded into this glucose origami so tightly that the intricacy feels needlessly ornate. This melomel is undoubtedly well made. It pushes the “too much” for me, but I also couldn’t stop drinking it. It’s like when you stumble upon some deep link that arrouses some segment of the internet, it’s not for you, but you cannot look away. It is sticky and enveloping, and over time, bad for you. For some, it may not be deviant enough.