This mead is a bit of a divergence for Moonlight Meadery, at least from the first look at the label. I picked up a bottle at the NH liquor store after hearing about the release from Moonlight on twitter. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have grabbed a bottle since its hard to see that it comes from Moonlight Meadery and that it is a cyser. It does have a small description on the side that says “Honey Apple Wine produced and bottled by Moonlight Meadery LLC.”
I’m not sure why they decided to keep the Moonlight brand somewhat concealed from the consumer, since they have done a great job lately building brand recognition. I do however like the look of the Last Apple label more than the traditional labels from Moonlight. It would be great to see a convergence of the two styles across all bottles for a new, refined “craft brewed” branding focus. The commercial description explains the creation process:
We took the very last New Hampshire apples that were available to us, which we had fresh pressed into apple cider. This fresh cider was delivered the day it was pressed to our Meadery, where we blended it with True Source Honey and let it ferment, then we let it age in freshly emptied Jim Beam barrels that our friends at Allagash Brewing Company were able to help us with. The aging process took over 6 months. The ending result is oh so heavenly and oh so cherished. It’s not the like any of the other honey apple meads that we make, its got an entirely new label design, that we feel show cases every little detail about how precious this sweet honey apple mead is.
Upon opening it, I noticed it does have the Moonlight Meadery name on the cork as well, but this is concealed by foil at the point of purchase. Its a still mead that pours a pale gold color. The Aroma is mostly ripe sweet apple with some light floral honey notes. Like walking through an apple orchard late in the season (go figure).
It sips a bit heavy, which is to be expected since it comes in at 16% ABV. The apple definitely shines on the taste as well. The late harvest gets the apples sweet so there is no tartness at all in the flavor. Its a nice warm earthy flavor. I think if it wasn’t for the aging in oak it would have been too sweet, but the oak rounds it out very nicely. Overall its a great mead that would pair nicely with a thanksgiving meal or a hearty grilled steak. I definitely recommend picking up a bottle or two while its available.