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exmoor_cat
03-05-2007, 12:48 PM
I just have to tell you the most surreal mead shopping trip I did today. I decided to have mooch around the various organic food shops in the Camden-Archway area of London. It was proving dry, though useful discussions with shopkeepers are helping with my business plan. :sign13:

My middle stop was a shop called Bumblebee stores, it's a fantastic collection of four semi-collective-style shops in Kentish Town - well worth a visit if you're over here. :icon_king:

I think I might have seriously blotted my copybook here as I dropped a bottle of mead on the floor. Seriously, it was only a four foot drop, but the blast radius of shattered glass and aromatic sticky stuff was impressive. :tool:

I managed to follow this boob up with another classic, discovering after everything has been totted up, that my cashcard wasn't in the wallet. One would think reaching for the credit card would save the day. Slgiht hitch there. In Britain we've finally switched over to chip and PIN technology, thus swiping cards isn't expected, especially if you are British and ought to know better than forgetting the Pin number. Yeah, I ought to know better, cue much entertainment with the swipe facility that was gathering dust at the back. On top of all this there was a queue of overtly patient, covertly murderous Brits waiting to pay for their cheesebreads and muesli. :BangHead:

Finally, to wrap up, I will relate what I acquired (and am looking forwards to a major tasting session with wife and friends) -

Broughton Pastures Organic Mead, made from fairtrade Zambian honey 12%. I've actually made my own version from the same honey source, will be interesting to compare the two, am expecting a certain strong smoky flavour.

Now the two finds I was most pleased with were both from France :toothy10:

Miel des Pyrenees Hydromel Prunelle 2004 15%

Miel des Pyrenees Hydromel Chataigner 2005 15%

to save you reaching for the dictionary, that's a Sloe Berry and a Sweet Chestnut.

Am drooling already. :cheers:

Wolfie
03-05-2007, 07:51 PM
Is that the Forrest Honey? I've seen that but it's so pricy I could never aford to use it in a batch. God that stuff looks good.

A quick question (for anyone) I was under the impression that a hydromel was a mead made with a low ABV to alow it to age more quickly and gracefully, but 15% is average content...

so...what IS a hydromel?

Oskaar
03-05-2007, 10:05 PM
Hydromel is the French, Spanish, Mexican, and a couple of other languages outside of English word for Mead.

It has been bastardized into meaning "low alcohol mead" or "mead-lite" and really needs to be changed to something like "session" which is what we use when judging commercial low-alcohol meads.

Cheers,

Oskaar

exmoor_cat
03-06-2007, 03:58 AM
Genny and I had a tasting session last night.

The Braughton Pastures was undrinkable, it was an insipid taste that was similar to a white table wine that was somewhat racnid. Very disappointing.

Now, the other two, I was in heaven. The Sloeberry one was slightly sharp, but rolled over the tongue very nicely, smooth full of flavour with a slgiht sherry hint. This is definately a high quality aperitif and had aged well.

The Sweet Chestnut was interesting, very cloudy, so I will be decanting it just in case this is a suspened sediment after yesterdays shenanigins in the shop. It was pleasantly nutty, almost like marzipan, and took a moment for the full range of the chestnut taste to explode, making it a wonderful experience. Gennyb doesn't liek marzipan sothis was an instant no-no for her, which I'm happy to claim the rest of the bottle for.

The label is very sparse on detail, literally just the title, and address and ABV, but whoever is the brewmaster in some foothill on the France-Spain border certainly knows the art.

Dan McFeeley
03-06-2007, 03:21 PM
Hydromel is the French, Spanish, Mexican, and a couple of other languages outside of English word for Mead.

It has been bastardized into meaning "low alcohol mead" or "mead-lite" and really needs to be changed to something like "session" which is what we use when judging commercial low-alcohol meads.

Cheers,

Oskaar


Just to add a bit more background -- "hydromel" is from the ancient Greek language and culture associated with meadmaking. Literally the word means "Water Honey" but refers to the process of making mead as compared with making wine. Wine is made by pressing out grape juice; mead is mead by diluting honey with water.

Hydromel as a word for mead was in use at the time of Pliny the Elder in the first century AD, and likely long before that. The word jumped into Latin, and from there, to the Romance languages, which is why it is found in French, Spanish, etc.

I'd say that the reason why it became associated with a weak watered down mead draws from Digby's Closet Opened. There is a recipe for "Hydromel, as I made it weak for the Queen Mother," and apparently the idea stuck.

http://www.bookrags.com/ebooks/16441/41.html#27