Bee on Thyme

Thyme Mead

Thyme Honey is a specialty honey that is found in only a few places across the globe, it requires expanses of wild thyme flowers for the bees to produce this delicacy. One place where the wild thyme grows is in New Zealand, where it was left behind, reportedly by the Chinese during the gold rush era. This is where I have sourced mine from. Although an introduced species it has not become a noxious weed as it tends to only thrive in rocky areas where other plants don't. As soon as it hits fertile ground it can not compete with the local flora.

I like to use local produce when I can, but I also enjoy using world class honeys such as this one: it is truly unique and makes a truly unique Mead. 

The honey itself is overpowering in flavour at first, this is NZ's strongest honey. Once the herbal thyme flavour fades it leaves a rich and smooth buttery flavour. It is  a honey that is usually recommended for use in cooking with savoury meals rather than sweet, but I would suggest people try it and make up their own mind. I have no trouble eating it by the spoon full.

I have some straight thyme mead sitting in two re-coopered bourbon barrels, one with a light char, one with a medium/dark char. Using a yeast that tends to bring out those buttery flavours that sit within this honey, the mead in the lighter char has been allowed to sit on the gross lees for an extended period, the other has not and was racked off the bulk yeast before going into the oak. They were both allowed to complete their fermentation in the oak and have now been racked into another set of newly recoopered barrels for ageing.

Out of all of the honeys I have used, this is the straight Mead I will drink first. I absolutely love its rich earthiness, I am reminded of the notes from Benedictine and some of those European Herbed Liqueurs and vodkas. Its flavour profile really does make it taste more like a metheglin than a 'classic', but the flavour is all in the amazing New Zealand Thyme honey.