I picked up the Poet’s Mead when I visited Artesano Meadery for a tour and tasting. It was one of the meads that really stood out for me when I tasted their line-up. I left their facility with this and a bottle of their traditional mead.
The Poet’s Mead is aged in oak barrels obtained from Allagash Brewing Company out of Portland Maine after being used for their Curieux – a delicious Tripel Ale. The Oak barrels were originally used for Jim Beam bourbon, so the Poet’s Mead is the third tenant of the barrels. It’s very cool to see the reuse of barrels in this way. Is there a meadery or cidery or something of the like that has teamed up with a brewery to pass barrels back and forth once they have been used? This continuous rotation could be very interesting.
Here is Artesano’s Description of the Poets Mead:
The Mead of Inspiration is reputed to give poets their ability to understand the secrets of the world. Ours is brewed with pure Vermont honey and aged in American bourbon barrels. Sip and wax poetically.
So what I know of the “Mead of Inspiration” or “Mead of Poetry.” It’s part Old Norse mythology and the story of Odin, where a mead is made by a pair of dwarfs from honey and the blood of a murdered man. It is said to give great powers of knowledge and inspiration… I’ve met with the Artesano mead makers and they don’t fit the description of the original creators of the Mead of Poetry. I’m pretty sure this one is not made with blood as well.
It pours a golden straw color – fairly opaque and unfiltered. If keeping with the story, I would figure adding some berries to this to give some red coloring. The aroma was mostly floral, sweet honey.
While the bottle says “Sweet Mead,” it’s not a sweet mead at all. I would say its on the drier side of semi-sweet. There is slight sweetness in the taste along with some floral notes. I’m really trying to pick up some flavors from the Curieux, a beer I enjoy on occasion, but I wasn’t picking anything up. At 14% alcohol, the boozy flavors are pretty subtle – the oak aging definitely takes some of that edge off. I would however like a little more of the earth oakiness to come through.
I like Artesano’s choice of bottle for this mead, however the label falls a bit short for me. I don’t think the metallic finish suits the brand. It’s a little flashy, especially for a barrel aged mead. I like the introduction of the swirling graphic elements, but they need some refinement. They should also be incorporated into the overall label design more, right now there is a strict division between the text and the swirls. I would have them play off each other more for better cohesiveness.
To be perfectly honest, I think I liked this mead more when I tried it at Artesano. Its a good mead, but not the great mead I remembered. I think i will have to find my inspiration elsewhere.