Yenoh (pronounced Ya Know… honey spelled backwards) is the pride and joy of Sevier Distilling Company’s Master Distiller, Chris Yett. It’s unique recipe is distilled from 100% honey, with no expense spared in the preparation and distillation of this elegant specialty spirit. So raise your glass to the hardworking bees who provide the honey that goes into this delightful nectar. The question isn’t whether you’ll enjoy it, it’s whether anyone can get you to share. It’s that good, Yenoh?
A Quick History of An Ancient Beverage
Mead has been around for CENTURIES (Some say all the way back to Africa where tribesmen in Africa would collect it and honey from the trees just after the wet season). It made it’s way west with the help of nomads and travelers. BUT it is also because the honey bee is a creature that is found all over the world!
Mead in England has been around since the times when Christianity was not even a glimmer in anyone’s eyes. A bride and groom were encouraged to drink it for a month, hence the term “Honeymoon.” Monks made mead as a by-product of keeping bees for the bees wax for candles for churches and monasteries. There was surplus honey, and when mixed with water it made mead. (Personal note, I wouldn’t be surprised if the monks noticed the sweetness of mead and noticed people’s need to have fun and didn’t supply the mead and places for parties so that people could enjoy and create a sense of community.)
Most monasteries stopped making mead because of Henry VIII, he had most monasteries dissolved in the 16th century.
Ever hear the story about the monk who let one barrel go for too long?
Putting The Honey in Honeymoon
The winter that year had been especially cold and in 14th century England that meant that everything and everyone was cold. Everything except the hall every so often when the monks would bring in the mead and there was a roaring fire. Music was played by locals and everyone danced, laughed, and occasionally fought. That winter they had gone through barrel after barrel of mead, it’s sweet honey warmth filling the hearts and spirits of the people of the town. The brother who was in charge of maintaining the barrels and keeping track did his best to rotate them, to keep his books and timing perfectly. The Father watched over him closely and the brother nervously did his best.
For after winter would come spring, when mead would be even more deeply needed. It would be given to the bride and groom for their honeymoon, to be drunk every night for a month. To make the process of getting to know one another a little easier. Try as this brother did though, there was one barrel that was fated to be forgotten. A barrel of mead that was destined to become something else. That spring after such a long winter a romance bloomed that the whole region was delighted in. She was kind and he was courageous. The wedding festivities were to last four days and the monastery was to provide the wine and the mead.
In a great hall full of shining faces, flowers and joy the father of the bride approached the Father, “Please open a new barrel of mead, I will be making my toast and I want to be sure everyone’s glasses are full.” The Father being a servant hearted man complied, turning to the brother and soon that barrel full of destiny was rolled forward. For unlike the other barrels it had sat a little bit longer, like the people around it the yeast had danced within it. The brothers filled pitchers and every glass was full, no one seemed to notice the difference, or lack of color, until…
The father of the bride stood his chest swelled with the pride and joy of the day, “Today I give my daughter to a good man, a man, I have known him since he was a boy, have known his father since we were boys and am honored for my daughter to join their family. To their marriage!” He raised his voice and his glass and the whole room fell quiet and the brother lost all color in his face when like the rest of the room they noticed that the mead had lost its color.
A confident man, a courageous man, the father of the bride laughed, “A miracle for my daughter on this day! Mead to water!” With that everyone laughed and drank the honey liquor, it’s sweetness and strength entering in and filling them with the same. Everyone laughed, asked for more and enjoyed the evening.
In fact it was so good that the bride and groom requested that they have this liquor for their honeymoon instead of mead. It was rumored throughout the region that because they started their marriage with a stronger liquor their marriage was stronger. They were a happy married couple with a brood of children, who all served and were well loved and respected in their community.
A Tale That Built A Legacy
And this was the tale told to a young boy on the dirt floor of his home in the mountains of what would become Tennessee as his father drank a clear, strong, sweet liquor made from their bees. The light of the roaring fire shining off of his father’s face and sparkling eyes, in his son’s eyes his father was a descendant of that married couple, and that liquid his legacy to pass on. It is a legacy that lives on today in the hills of Eastern Tennessee, a legacy that endured war, prohibition, famine and strife. It is more than a tale, it is something handed down and now being poured out to imbue it’s drinker with that same strength and sweetness from long ago.
“From Bee to Booze, Yenoh it’s good because we’ve traced it as far back as possible.”
“Breathe naturally because it’s made naturally in the mountains of Tennessee.”
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