I got honey as a present and I decided to do a horizontal taste testing; and I decided to do it as a series of posts on FB, because why not. This is the collation of those posts…
Are there honey fiends? I guess there must be. I’m not one of them – I mean I like honey but I don’t go out of my way to get really good honey, mostly because I don’t know what really good honey is. But I’m about to experiment and I thought I’d share that here. I’m not very good at comparing tastes over multiple days… so the fact that I got a box of honeys from Beechworth c/my work Kris Kringle this year (totally above and beyond) is a magnificent opportunity to do a horizontal tasting! And then somehow I have three ‘ordinary’ honeys at home (what even?) and I was given a large jar of honey by another friend because she didn’t like it… so: ten honeys. Let’s see what this is like.
First, the supermarket honeys.
1. Capilano “Natural floral honey: Manuka”. Tastes… like honey? Maybe a little bit savoury? I guess this works as a base line.
2. Allowrie “Mixed blossom”. Definitely a bit sweeter and smoother, too (the Capilano has crystallised a little, although that doesn’t impact on the taste). This is nice but definitely not ‘challenging’; I guess it’s a good inoffensive one.
3. Beechworth Honey from the supermarket – no info about blossoms or what have you. Not quite as sweet as the Allowrie, I guess a bit more… tasty? As in, not just straight bland sweetness.
Hey, describing honey is hard, who knew?
For what it’s worth, I’m using little wooden spoons for the tasting – I did a bit of reading that suggested wood was best. And I remember the first Gastropod episode where they talked about the way different materials for utensils make a difference.
4. Golden Nectar Organic Real Leatherwood Honey: c/ a friend because they didn’t like it. Well THAT bodes well… Wow. That is definitely more character-ful than the others. I like it! It’s got… punch, or something. More on the savoury side of sweet (yes I know that’s silly). Not floral. I’m going to assume Leatherwood honey is a fairly distinct taste. It would presumably lend a noticeable taste to a marinade, I guess depending on what else you were using.
And now: the fancy ones. The Beechworth Honey jars are presented in a very nice little box. Each jar is labelled with (I presume) the blossoms the bees mostly fed on to make the honey, and a statement like “Bee… Fruity.”
1. Orange blossom: “Bee… Fruity.” The jar gives this 2/5 stars in terms of mild –> strong. Yes, by comparison with the Leatherwood it’s definitely mild. Sweet although not overwhelmingly so (my mother would tell you my sweetness gauge isn’t to be trusted though). Fruity? … I guess so? Not sure how you judge that. Nicer than the Allowrie.
2. Red Gum: also “Bee… Fruity”, hence why I’m doing it next. It’s got three stars on the mild –> strong scale. The fruitiness is more noticeable here and I’m glad I did it next to the orange blossom because yes, it’s definitely a step up in terms of strength of taste. It’s not as sweet, it’s more interesting to taste, and I like it more than the orange blossom.
Things learned so far: I think I prefer stronger honeys. Good to know.
I may have done these in slightly the wrong order; turns out there are two that are right at the mild end of the spectrum, and two at the 4/5 end. So, mild first:
3. Ironbark: “Bee… Delicate.” Gets 1/5 stars on the mild –> strong system… and yes, definitely more mild than the Red Gum, and completely different from the Leatherwood. A bit closer to the Allowrie in terms of pure sweetness, but more… interesting, I think. Can’t describe why: it’s more than *just* sweet?
4. Creamy Honey: “Bee… Creamy” (obvs). This has a special place in my heart already because creamed honey always makes me think of my Grandma. And this is super, super creamy: the honey doesn’t move in the jar, it has a lovely white layer on top, and I’m already excited about just eating it from the jar (in very small amounts of course). It’s a 2-star honey, and yes it’s quite mild, but it’s also not overwhelming in its sweetness, especially compared to the Ironbark. Super tasty and I adore the texture.
Last honeys: the strong ones.
5. Macadamia: “Bee… Warm.” I mean. Macadamia. What’s not to be excited about? 4/5 on the strength-o-meter so I’m assuming I’ll like it. Aaand… it’s nice, but not that exceptional. Tested it against the supermarket Beechworth Honey and it’s definitely more interesting than that – which is why doing a horizontal tasting is the only way I can figure this stuff out. I’m a bit surprised that it’s a four on the strength rating, I wouldn’t have thought it was that much stronger than Red Gum.
6. Stringy Bark: “Bee… Bold.” Well that’s an ambitious claim for the honey, isn’t it? I would give it to Leatherwood for sure. This is also a four on the strength meter. And oh yes, that’s a delight. Not as strong as the Leatherwood – it would have to be a five, or maybe a six, out of five – but definitely punching the standard supermarket honeys in the face.
Well, now to figure out how to use these I guess. Aside from just stealing spoonfuls when I need something sweet.