Varietal honey

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Varietal honey is honey created by bees which have primarily visited only a single honey source.

About Varietal Honey

The flavor of honey is affected by the flowers the bees visit during the production process. Traditionally this would have resulted in different flavors of honey being produced in different locations and at different times of the year.

Modern apiculturists have created so-called varietal or single varietal honey, by placing bees in empty comb hives in areas where there is a single significant pollen source, such as when bees are used to pollinate a specific cultivated crop. Despite the claims of many producers, no honey is really derived entirely from a single pollen source, but a dominant pollen source can significantly affect the flavor and aroma of the honey.

The chart below lists some varietal honey styles which can be used in making mead, with some description of the flavor characteristics of each one.

Variety Chart

Varietal Av. pH Description
Alfalfa 3.8 Delicately flavored honey; good for table use; a neutral mead base.
Basswood Fresh taste with green fruit character; lingering flavor
Chestnut One of the most strongly flavored varietal honeys; sharp and bitter, with a pollen flavor.
Clover Mild, floral flavor.
Mesquite Light, sweet, delicate
Orange blossom Sweet, fruity, citrusy flavor.
Tulip Poplar Dark color and a distinctive molasses-like flavor.
White sage Rich, sweet, clover-like flavor with a floral aftertaste.