Aroma: Depending on the sweetness and strength, a subtle to distinctly
identifiable honey and herb/spice character (dry and/or hydromel
versions will tend to have lower aromatics than sweet and/or sack
versions). The herb/spice character should display distinctive
aromatics associated with the particular herbs/spices; however, note
that some herbs/spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas
and are more distinctive than others (e.g., chamomile, lavender)—allow
for a range of herb/spice character and intensity from subtle to
aggressive. The herb/spice character should be pleasant and
supportive, not artificial and inappropriately overpowering (considering
the character of the herb/spice). In a blended herb/spice metheglin, not
all herbs/spices may be individually identifiable or of equal intensity.
The honey aroma should be noticeable, and can have a light to
significant sweetness that may express the aroma of flower nectar. If a
variety of honey is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very
noticeable varietal character reflective of the honey (different varieties
have different intensities and characters). The bouquet should show a
pleasant fermentation character, with clean and fresh aromatics being
preferred. Stronger and/or sweeter versions will have higher alcohol
and sweetness in the nose. Some herbs and spices may produce spicy
or peppery phenolics. Standard description applies for remainder of
Appearance: Standard description applies, except perhaps to note that
the color usually won’t be affected by spices and herbs (although
flowers, petals and peppers may provide subtle colors; tea blends may
provide significant colors).
Flavor: The herb/spice flavor intensity may vary from subtle to high;
the honey flavor intensity may vary from subtle to high; the residual
sweetness may vary from none to high; and the finish may range from
dry to sweet, depending on what sweetness level has been declared (dry to sweet) and strength level has been declared (hydromel to sack). The distinctive flavor character associated with the particular herbs/spices may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive (although some herbs/spices may not be individually recognizable, and can just serve to add a background complexity). Certain herbs and spices might add bitter, astringent, phenolic or spicy (hot) flavors; if present, these
qualities should be related to the declared ingredients (otherwise, they
are faults), and they should balance and blend with the honey,
sweetness and alcohol. Metheglins containing more than one
herb/spice should have a good balance among the different
herbs/spices, though some herbs/spices will tend to dominate the flavor profile. A metheglin may have a subtle to strong honey character, and
may feature noticeable to prominent varietal character if a varietal
honey is declared (different varieties have different intensities).
Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.
Mouthfeel: Standard description applies. Some herbs or spices may
contain tannins that add a bit of body and some astringency, but this
character should not be excessive.
Overall Impression: In well-made examples of the style, the
herbs/spices are both distinctive and well-incorporated into the honeysweet-acid-tannin-alcohol balance of the mead. Different types of
herbs/spices can result in widely different characteristics; allow for a
variation in the final product.
Ingredients: Standard description applies. A metheglin is a standard
mead made with the addition of spices or herbs. Meads made with
flowers (such as rose petal mead, or rhodomel) or chile peppers
(capsimel/capsicumel) may also be entered in this category, as can
meads made with a blend of spices. If spices are used in conjunction
with other ingredients such as fruit, cider, or other fermentables, then
the mead should be entered as an Open Category Mead.
Comments: Often, a blend of spices may give a character greater than
the sum of its parts. The better examples of this style use spices/herbs
subtly and when more than one are used, they are carefully selected so
that they blend harmoniously. See standard description for entrance
requirements. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level, strength, and
36 sweetness. Entrants MAY specify honey varieties. Entrants MUST
specify the types of spices used.
Commercial Examples: Bonair Chili Mead