From Sweet to Sweaty: Honey’s Different Tastes and Aroma

by Echo Store on June 01, 2021

Not all honey tastes sweet.

This may come as a surprise as honey has been commonly used as an alternative to sugar. But just like coffee and wine, the tastes of natural honey are much more complex.

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Honey and Pollination Center developed a “Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel” with over 100 terms to describe honey’s flavor profiles.

UC Davis worked with 20 trained tasters, beekeepers, food enthusiasts, and a sensory scientist for over a year to provide a lexicon of honey’s varied flavors and aroma.

Flavors include floral, fruity, spicy, woody, caramel, nutty, and earthy.  Interestingly, some descriptors that made it to the honey flavor wheel are stinky like “cat pee”, “sweaty”, “pungent”, “locker room” and “moldy.”

These tasting notes may not be appealing but these do not discount the health benefits that one can get from  all-natural honey.

Raw honey contains nutrients including vitamins B-complex, A, C, D, E, and,  and trace elements like magnesium, sulfur, and phosphorus.

ECHOstore’s Raw Wild Honey, from Alabat, Quezon, is harvested from the nests of the giant honey bee species known as Apis Dorsata. These bees buzz around the lush vegetations of the Quezon Mountains. This unprocessed honey has a more fluid texture.

The tastes and smell of honey that bees produce depend mainly on nectar source. For instance, bees in the  lavender fields of France produce honey that tastes like lavender, according to the National Public Radio’s Science Desk blog, The Salt.

Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollnation Center, added in the same article, that interpreting honey’s flavor is “very subjective…What I’m tasting may not be what you’ll taste.”

Contrasting flavors often emerge in honey, Harris explained. Honey could initially taste like orange blossom then later on the flavor could be similar to that of Earl Gray tea, she added.

Several factors also affect the viscosity or the “flow properties” of honey including the nectar source and the weather, humidity, rainfall, soil, and landscape of the place where it comes from.

“Thick” does not equate to “raw” honey. In Asian countries, honey tend to be runnier than those from Europe. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that syrup or water sugar has been added, according to an online article.

In the Philippines, honey varieties from different origins differ in color and viscosity.

Compared to ECHOstore’s Raw Wild Honey and Kenzo & Kloe’s Nature Farm’s Honey with Cayenne  from Quezon Mountains,  Kablon Farms’ Wild Honey, from wild honey combs found in Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato, is thicker and darker.

Larry’s Honey from Naga City, Camarines Sur comes in light and dark varieties. Larry’s Dark Honey, which is harvested from the nests of Apis Dorsata, contains higher amount of enzymes, while Larry’s Light Honey, which is gathered from Apis Cerana nests, has higher pollen content and tends to be more floral in taste.

Want to identify the different aroma and flavors of honey?

Honey products are available at and branches in Serendra in Taguig, Salcedo Village in Makati City, Podium in Mandaluyong City, Centris Walk in Quezon City, Streetscape Mall in Cebu City, Robinsons Highlands in Davao City, and Domingo Velez in Cagayan de Oro.