July 21, 2009

Honey Tasting Contest: The Least Best

In two previous posts I explained the tasting set-up and then gave the basic results of the best of eight (8) honeys.

It's worth mentioning that all of the honeys were good. It's also worth mentioning that this judging says nothing about honeys that were not part of the competition; we simply selected 8 honeys that we thought would have a range of flavors. Each honey received two scores:
  • Distinctiveness, and
  • Agreeability
Each was scored on a scale of 1 - 10.

The Honeys

Random NumberHoney Name
#1Lord Byron - Wildflower
#2Wedderspoon Active +16
#4Wedderspoon Autumn Forest
#5Ulmo Tree
#6Really Raw
#7Trader Joe's Creamed Clover
#8Trader Joe's w/ Honey Comb

Thirteen people participated as judges in the tasting. The highest possible score for being either Distinctive or Agreeable was 130. The highest combined total score would be 260. The best honeys are summarized below, with scores in parentheses.

The Worst of the Group of Honeys

Judging CategoryFirst PlaceSecond PlaceThird Place
DistinctivenessHoney #1
Honeys #2
Honey #4
AgreeabilityHoney #2
Honey #3
Honey #5, #4
Total ScoreHoney #2
Honey #1
Honey #4

Some Comments

Honey #2, Wedderspoon Manuka Active +16 from New Zealand, 500 grams, was priced at $45 dollars (you can get it for $30). It is organic and raw. In my view, it had similar flavors of #5 Ulmo Tree honey from Chile, that is, a hint of sasafrass root (like root beer). Some of the comments about Wedderspoon +16 follow:
  • Blank taste
  • Cloudy and thick
  • Saturated, pasty
  • Sour
Honey #1 Lord Byron's wildflower honey is local to Maryland, USA, came in lowest on distinctiveness and 2nd lowest total score. It is a high grade standard honey we have around the house. Here's what some of the judges had to say:
  • Sweeter than sweet!
  • Pleasant, normal
  • Very simple, very clean
  • medicinal
  • warm with subtle zing
  • earthy
Honey #3 Zambeze from Zambia African jungle flowers. 100% organic, Fair Trade. It intentionally has cyrstals. Advertized as having a complex, lingering, rich but subtle flavor. Personally, I liked it and think the judges might have been prejudiced by the crystals, so take the following comments with a grain of honey. Here are the comments on Zambeze:
  • Grainy (mentioned twice)
  • Like proplis and chunky
  • Not good, very crystalized
  • Ick
  • I hate the taste
  • Yeasty
  • Bitter bite
  • Good
Honey #4 Wedderspoon Autumn Forest Honeydew from New Zealand. A dark, 100% organic, raw honey. It was the most runny of the eight honeys. Here's what the judges had to say:
  • I don't know if it's sweet or sour
  • Tastes similar to maple syrup (certainly has the consistency)
  • Aftertaste
  • Subtle but unique
  • Tart, Medicinal
  • Smooth
Comments on #5, Ulmo Tree my personal favorite from Chile, can be found in the results for the best of the group.


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