Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mead Review: The Heart of Darkness

Reviewing The Heart of Darkness, a mead produced by Schramm's Meadery out of Ferndale, Michigan. Schramm's Meadery is a relatively new -- located a stone's throw away from B. Nektar (who released the first commercial iterations of The Heart of Darkness as a collaboration) and a short drive from Kuhnhenn's Brewing Company -- but Ken Schramm is no stranger to great mead. This labor of love mead is comprised of hand-picked and hand-pitted morello cherries that were fermented with black currants, red raspberries and locally sourced honey.

Score: 100

December 2012 bottle served in a stemmed Cantillon tulip and enjoyed on 01/04/14 while on vacation in Mexico.

Appearance: Pours a lovely deep, dark reddish purple color that is evocative of a red wine, with ample ruby highlights and a little fade towards out outer edges. Sticky, oily legs. Swirling tints the sides of the glass with a light reddish purple color. 5/5

Smell: The nose is a fruit parade. Fruity raspberry, a little honey sweetness and currant/cherry. Smells like a lovely, fruity all berry jam with a prominent (but not overpowering) honey twist. Absolutely lovely integration of the fruitiness. A touch of booziness on the nose too, akin to a "greener" red wine. Truly amazing. 5/5

Taste: Fresh, tart raspberry jam hits first, then a wave of fruity currant and then a wave of cherry, with each prior fruit lingering and blending nicely with the latter waves. The honey character is most prominent on the finish, with a touch of booziness in the finish too. These flavors are integrated perfectly. Allowing this delectable elixir to sit on the tongue longer accentuates the tartness and jamminess of the raspberry character, in addition to a bit more of the booze. Great, lasting finish. So delicious. 5/5

Mouthfeel: This mead falls on the drier side of semi-sweet meads. Viscous, jammy body, with a nice tartness. The tinge of booziness and dryness and tartness all mix well to make a really interesting and lively mouthfeel. 5/5

Overall: Although this site is primarily devoted to beer, The Heart of Darkness is an epic libation that demands your attention. I walked into Schramm's thinking "who is crazy enough to buy a $100 mead", and walked out with three bottles after sampling it. This mead is jammy, with a nice tartness, and is dangerously drinkable being on the drier side of the semi-sweet (or maybe sweeter side of dry) meads. You won't think this one is too sweet; you'll only wish it came in a larger format than 375 ml once your glass it empty. Seek this one out with confidence when the next batch is released. You will not be disappointed, especially if you like red wines.

Cost: $100 for a 375 ml bottle.

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