Product Feature: Honey Tasting and Grading

Honey comb and honey

Nothing tastes like honey, but honey can come with a range of flavour. Age and pollen profile are two factors that can greatly change the taste of honey. Depending on what flowers the bees have foraged on, you might end up with a lighter honey, like our Summer Blossom Honey that is made from a variety of wildflower nectars including dandelion.

In order to sell honey in Ontario, it must be graded. All honey at the HBRC is Ontario Grade No. 1. Ontario honey can also be graded Ontario No. 2 or Ontario No. 3. Grade is determined by a number of factors including moisture content and how much the honey has been filtered. Honey is also classified by colour. It can be white, golden, amber, or dark, but as honey rests over time, it can darken and take on a deeper taste profile. Ontario Ministry of Food and Agricultural Affairs has a particular standards for Grade, Container and Labeling Honey in Ontario.

Flavour is one of the most important things about honey, but it is also subjective. Here at the HBRC, our team took some time to taste three different types of honey originating from different locations in Ontario, Canada. Here are their honest thoughts:

Raw Honey

Colleen – Can I have the jar? It’s good it’s delicious.

Monique – It’s good, it’s tasty.

Dana – *takes generous scoop* It was good I couldn’t help myself.

Rory – It’s good it tastes like honey to me.

Catherine – Really creamy and smooth, and mild.

Janet – It’s okay.

Thorah Island Honey

When we had this honey tested Virginia creeper was the dominant pollen.

Colleen – It’s like, smokey, it’s not smokey – I guess it reminds me of fresh earth.

Dana – I like it, it’s a little cinnamon. (Paul: that’s what I get too. You have to think about what to pair it with).

Monique – It’s kind of spicy, I get a little bit of honey. I prefer a more regular honey.

Rory – That one’s really good, I don’t know if I taste the cinam… aww there’s a little bit of cinnamon.

Catherine – (After just returning from Thorah Island) – It’s thicker going in and it’s right as it goes down you get that extra burst of flavour.

Janet – I like this one better than the other one.

Buckthorn Honey

Paul – It initial tasted like rust but over time has mellowed. The strong flavour deteriorates over the years. After aging a year it won our tasters number one spot.

Colleen – My favourite. It reminds me of buckwheat honey.

Monique – *Licks fingers* It has a strong flavour, I like that.

Dana – Definitely a stronger but very good. I wouldn’t say it’s as sweet to me.

Rory – It kind of tastes a little fruity to me. Not as strong or sweet as the last one.

Catherine – I would say this one to me is sweeter on the back end, but it has more of a pleasant lingering flavour.

Janet – It’s not as strong as the Thorah Island honey. I think Catherine is right it’s not as strong. This is my favourite of the three so far.

Pure Buckwheat Honey

A dark brown, near black honey that has been aged over 5 years with some crystallization.

Colleen – It’s beautiful. It’s delicious. It has a strong flavour and it stays there in your mouth. It reminds me of toast, I can picture this slathered on toast.

Monique – That is a really strong taste*

Paul: Is that too strong for you

Monique: Yes.

Paul: I recommend that people try lighter honey if they don’t like a strong taste

Dana – A lot stronger, almost tastes like black licorice.

Rory – Slow start but it heated up a little bit. Dark licorice, molasses a little burnt. I can see why it is a premium honey. It was a flavour explosion in my mouth. I liked it a lot.

Catherine – That one is kind of chewy (the honey is crystalized). I think it can be compared to a fine scotch. It keeps rolling around. It’s not sweet. The licorice was a good call.

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