I also just got back my results from my first MCI. I also had a couple comments regarding the honey I used, with one mentioning I might try a less aggressive honey or upping the amount of fruit I used. I've heard that dry meads are difficult to get honey flavor to come through. I'm a coward and make sweets and semi-sweets, but am working on a dry. I racked it yesterday and the alcohol heat is really strong at the moment. From what I've read about dry meads, start off with a honey that has a big flavor, and then age it for at least 2 years. That's just what I've gleaned though. Others can give you better input.
I also had one mead where there was a 5 point spread between the judges. Not sure why that was because the comments from the judge who gave me the lowest score were really helpful, but did not point out any major flaws and the only suggestion he made that I won't be able to put into action immediately with my next batch is aging longer. I had one mead that was a year old and two that were 9 and 7 months.
As for my personal 'standard' of "Gee! I did good!", if I get a score between 38 and 44, I'm darn tickled. My other personal standard is if my keg (3 gallon, not 5 gallon) is floating in the ice bucket at the end of a camp out. I have several friends who are gluten intolerant, so I bring along mead for our camp outs.
I want to thank all the judges who took the time to judge all our efforts. They put in their own money to travel, get hotel rooms and time to do this without pay. I appreciate and will put into use the information given. And to the one judge who said she'd love a bottle of the one mead, well, I hope you were able to snag the other two bottles that didn't make it to the second cut, because that was the last of this year's effort.
"What were you expecting? Thunderbird?" (Bottle Shock)