Friday, October 26th, 2012
My real passion is found in the making of fine mead from (mostly) organic Tasmanian products – Derwent Valley honey, Huon Valley honey and Huon Valley apple juice. I can’t explain away the spices but for the most part this is a very Tasmanian artisan liquor. A good mead runs at around 12-14 per cent alcohol volume and a cyser can run as high as 18-22 per cent.
The simple truth about mead is that anybody can make a fast and nasty 14 per cent plonk-mead that can be mellowed out in the glass with a small shot of juice or lemonade. It can look clear and do the job… but the difficult part is creating mead that ages into a sublimely smooth taste experience.
The real art of fine quality mead is that a good mazer follows his/her tongue. It’s the best advice I ever received from the person who set me on the mazers’ quest.
The melomels & cysers in the photograph (above) are dangerously smooth so it would be easy to underestimate a nice cyser because it doesn’t even taste like an alcoholic drink. It’s not a wine, nor a cider… and it’s definitely not a cheap plonk made by bearded misfits. Those meads and mazers exist but I’m not one of them. For me it’s about making the finest mead that can be found.
Over the next year or three their complex character develops and evolves into a sublime experience. An experience that commercially would be worth around $38 for 500ml. A mead can last beyond a century to a millennium in the bottle.
The best mazers make mead like painters paint and writers write. It’s something we do. It’s about breathing. Finesse. A dance the bees made for us across 9000+ years of cultivated history. The drum of our ancestors across the lips.