There are dozens of honey varietals. This list is a work in progress. If you have a varietal that I’ve missed, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know! If you have a photo of the honey or the plant it is a varietal of, that would be great too!
You can also hook up with the American Honey Tasting Society. They have a flavor wheel for honey flavors, and even have classes on how to taste and recognize various honey characteristics. You can even study to be a honey sommelier!
Light and delicate, with a flavor that reminds you of dried pineapple.
Still more delicate. It does not taste like clove or allspice, and yet there is a subtle similarity of — character?
Dark and rich and full-bodied, and there is definitely a “family resemblance” to the avocado fruit! A very sensuous honey.
This is one where the language of flavors is simply inadequate. Basswood is sharper than some; complex and interesting; possibly woody?
Medium light and exceptionally sweet! Popular with kids. It has a fruity character.
Midrange in color, blueberry is surprisingly rich-tasting. The “blueberry” note is not readily apparent
“Single-malt honey.” The very strongest and darkest of honeys, it approaches blackstrap molasses (in my opinion). This is one that is much more than just a pretty sweetener, but will hold its own in whatever you want to cook!. Beware, Eastern Buckwheat honey has a strong ‘barnyard’ character. Western Buckwheat much less so. Take care when using it, it is strong enough to mask many flavors.
Carrot honey has a dark amber color with an aroma reminiscent of chocolate. The taste is strong with a bite to it—a sharp spike in an otherwise earthy, caramel flavor. There is also a “grassy” aftertaste, something close to meadow honey. This honey’s taste is different from other honeys.
A dark honey with one of the highest mineral contents of all honeys.
The taste is strong and exotic. It is of medium body and if I could come up with THE word, it would be exactly that word. As it is, it’s not light or heavy, nutty or fruity, etc.
Medium in strength and color, it is quite distinctive in its complex (read: “how do I describe *this* one???”) flavor. Like basswood, it makes a nice partner for tea when you want more than the tea flavor alone.
Just because it’s familiar doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful. One of the delicate, sweet ones; if a child’s ever picked you a bouquet of clover, you know the fragrance of this one.
A bit on the dark side of medium, it is sooo smooth and rich and mellow.
An exciting honey. It is medium sweet and the taste is tangy
Light, with just a bit of edge to its character, and a pleasant dustiness
Unexpected! Medium-dark, it makes me think of a chewy granola bar (with coconut?)
Yes, it does have a hint of that cool eucalyptus quality, sometimes a little more, sometimes barely there, in a pleasant mellow honey. Note: Another strong honey, take care when using, it will mask other flavors.
It has an extraordinary buttery taste — if you like your toast or biscuit with butter and honey, you can leave off the butter (and save all those fat grams!)
Another complex, hard-to-describe one. Medium-dark, edgy, flavorful — try it and write us what you think of it.
Has a rich but not overpowering flavor and is produced almost exclusively in the coastal Southeast.
Has a curious, distinctive and powerful smell, that has been described by some ‘like caramel and milk is mixed into the honey’, a spicy smell. Others suggest a faint licorice aroma. There is a peculiar discrepancy between the smell and its taste, and between varieties. The taste has been variously described as: ‘a bit of a bite’, ‘a butterscotch-like flavor’, ‘similar to dandelion honey’.
Guajillo honey is crystal white with a pearly reflection like new milk or a very light amber color. Guajillo has an extremely delicate and distinctive taste that is described as very light, mild, rich, smooth and sweet, with a hint of lavender. It has a perfume-like fragrance.
Though a lighter-than-medium gold color, it is one of the very strongest flavors — and not to everyone’s liking. It is fragrant and floral with a very lingering aftertaste that is almost bitter, the way hops is bitter. This makes a great heather mead, which will have almost a beer/hoppy tone to it. Also excellent in braggots.
A very pleasant honey. Medium sweet with some nutty overtones. The kids describe it as having the taste of candycorn.
Lavender honey has a wonderful sweet, flowery flavor and a light color and consistency. Rich in essential oils, lavender honey has been valued for its medicinal qualities for centuries. According to popular folklore, lavender honey is especially good for those with respiratory conditions or asthma.
Leatherwood (New Zealand)
Leatherwood honey is slightly liquid with uniform crystallization and a smooth creamy texture, and an ochre-yellow color. The perfume is intense with notes of balsamic scents, which develops quickly into clean fresh notes of citrus fruits and white flowers. The flavor is clean and fresh, very balsamic, with lightly spicy notes in its long finish. Overall, the sensation of eating this honey is very pleasurable: it is creamy, buttery, low in acidity and melts in the mouth.
From Hawaii, it’s middlin’ gold and middlin’ sweet and just plain weird in flavor.
Looking for linden? Basswood is called “the American linden,” See above.
Another one from Hawaii, yes it will remind you of the nut — a “family resemblance” again. And it’s almost as weird as lehua. Very rich-tasting, and amber in color.
Tastes like the inside of a warm marshmallow with hints of vanilla. It is a medium honey, and tends to crystallize. This honey is amazing as a traditional, and as a base honey with delicate fruits.
Light, delicate, and it does taste like “mesquite” — not smoky, but if you can taste the difference between mesquite-smoke and hickory-smoke, you’ll have an idea what to expect of the honey.
It is primarily noted for its color, which is white to cream, while most other African honeys are reddish or dark. The taste can be described as light, sweet, slightly acidic, with notes of grape juice and citrus. Oku honey has a sweet, creamy and slightly grainy texture.
A singularly beautiful honey, the taste of an orange grove in full bloom, light, heady and fragrant!
In a class with avocado and blueberry: somewhat strong, rich and mellow, and dark amber in color.
This is a delightful honey. It is light with a slightly fruity taste. Silky to the feel.
Light, sweet, with a bit of tang; not as “thick” as some
The prize of the Carolinas and Tennessee, this light-colored, delicate, subtle honey is becoming hard to come by, as stands of sourwoods are falling to developers. Not sour, but less sweet than some.
Light in color and “lively” in flavor.
Tigray White (Ethiopia)
The three types of honey produced are distinguishable by their color: red, yellow and white. 90% of production consists of a bright white colored honey, with good consistency and large grains without homogeneity. Its flavor is not very sweet and it has an intense aftertaste. Its color is due to the blossom of the area: a study needs to be carried out to determine the species, but presumably they mainly belong to the labiates family (like sage), and to a lesser extent to prickly pear and Euphorbia.
Second only to buckwheat in strength and darkness of color, and sweeter. Interesting, woody — and makes an intense, dark mead!
Pure tupelo honey is light amber in color; some note a green cast. It has a pear-like and hoppy aroma and a coveted flavor that fans describe as mild, delicate, buttery, floral, like cotton candy and rosewater. Because of its unusually high fructose content (versus sucrose), tupelo honey will not granulate. A granulated tupelo honey indicates an impure tupelo honey. Also because of its low sucrose content, some diabetics may eat it. Certified tupelo honey is not heated, processed, or filtered; neither is it mixed in any amount with honey procured from other blossoms. Even a slight amount of another honey (gallberry honey, which is harvested just before tupelo, is the most common interloper) is not tolerated in pure tupelo honey.
Above, I said goldenrod was Winnie-the-Pooh honey. Maybe vetch is, instead
— is what they call it when they weren’t paying attention to where the bees were going, OR the bees had their own ideas about where they wanted to eat. Expect wildflower to vary from season to season, and region to region.