I'll jump in on one aspect- the Cherry extract. I've never done a mead, so take that with a grain of salt. But I have done NB's Cherry Stout 3 times. I've blamed the cold-brewed coffee that I add, or the cocoa nibs, but really have to admit-it's the LD Carlson cherry extract that's really nasty. Unless you happen to like cough syrup. On the other hand, the apricot extract is real good. So, if you really want cherry flavor, use real cherries. Or pick another flavor.