Fellow mead maker and blogger Erroll, of washingtonwinemaker.com conducted a double blind taste test of boiled vs raw meads. By boiling, we are talking about boiling the must (honey / water mixture) to sanitize it before fermenting.
Some people believe that honey has anti-microbial action and therefore does not need boiling, and that the flavors will be destroyed by the boiling. Others believe that bacteria and wild yeasts will introduce off flavors, so the must should be boiled.
I have found more “honey” flavor in the meads that are made raw and have not experienced any adverse results from wild yeasts or bacteria.
Read Erroll’s results here. Thanks to the Washington Wine Maker for such a scientific approach.