Orchid Cellar is a winery located in the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains in Middletown, MD. They produce mostly mead and some merlot. They only distribute throughout Maryland, but you can purchase online…that is if you don’t live in a state with stringent alcohol laws like Massachusetts. Though I live in MA, I was lucky enough to get my hands on two bottles, the Lumberjack Cyser, which I reviewed previously and the Hunter. The Hunter is a Capsicumel – a mead made with chili peppers.
I poured the Hunter at cellar temperature. The mead itself has a great look to it. It pours a beautiful amber color with no carbonation.
There’s a lot of sweet honey aroma with light floral and citrus with spiciness from the peppers coming through – but far from overpowering. A nicely balanced bouquet. It definitely drinks on the sweet side – slightly syrupy on the tongue, which is what got my caught my attention on initial sip. Like the aroma, there is nice floral honey with a bit of lemony citrus flavor. I feel like it could use a little more of that citrus to balance out the sweetness.
Once swallowed there is some lovely lingering heat from the chili peppers. I think the amount of pepper is perfect. It adds subtle flavor on the backend of the sip and an enjoyable tingle that begs for another sip. They also have a mead they call “Big Game Hunter” which is a play off of this mead, but with three times the chili peppers. I feel as though the hunter has the perfect amount of spice, so I assume the Big Game Hunter will be thrown off balance.
I paired it with a mildly sweet chocolate almond cookie with a honey caramel center that my wife made for the holidays and it was the perfect combination. I recommend pairing it with a dark chocolate dessert – something without much sweetness.