August 10, 2014: I had been collecting honeys on my trips back to AZ and through CA, and decided to take the opportunity of a Slow Food Seattle picnic to finally do a tasting Western US honeys. To round out the WA offering, I also picked up a bunch of interesting WA varietals at Val's Surroundings on a serendipitous trip to Maltby the day before the tasting.
Here are the notes from the tasting of the 13 different kinds, ranging from general wildflower to prickly pear, and from Edison, WA to Malibu to the Sonoran Desert.
Blackberry (Snohomish, WA): nondescript, medium sweetness, subtle, not a lot of depth, lighter, mineral, “burns throat,” thick, traditional, “sweet side,” “nice tang,” “adequate with a lil spice”
Buckwheat (Eastern, WA): Molasses (x3), dark, pancakes, deep notes, long finish, herbal, tart, earthy, cocoa, plum sauce, rustic (taste & texture), barnyard, hay, soy sauce, “lots of flavor,” “want with blue cheese” (2 favorites, 1 “don’t really like” note, also chef Varin was not a fan)
Catclaw (Arcosanti, AZ): light (x2), lemony, mellow, low sweetness, wheaty, herbal, almost citrus, crystallized texture, coffeeish, smooth flavor, “too sweet? Potently sweet!” (2 favorite)
Knotweed (Duvall, WA): grass, bittersweet, deep, heavy sweetness, “almost like it has rum in it,” medium texture, “tiny bit bitter,”“tingles throat”
Malibu (CA): medium vibrancy, malty, smooth (x3), molasses, lighter tasting, pear, salt, medium texture, “lux!”
Maple tree (WA): floral (x3), high sweetness, jasmine, bright, mapley, “maple syrup with a flowery taste,” woody, light texture, “burns throat”
Mesquite (AZ): nondescript, richer at end, vanilla, strong, smooth, maple, peppery, chocolate, medium texture, “very sweet!” (1 favorite)
Orange blossom (Bakersfield, CA): honeysuckle, bright (x2), medium-light sweetness, flowery, “extra sweet,” medium texture, citrus (x2), “heavier tasting with orange,” “tastes like regular honey to me!,” “teeny bit of citrus,” “like candy” (1 favorite)
Prickly pear (AZ): delicate and gelatinous, very sweet, bright, long finish, distinctive, smooth, fruity, mellow, sticky texture, “almost apricot,” “sweet up front,” “pretty chill,” “not cloying,” straightforward
Closer look at the prickly pear
Wild Primrose/Fireweed (WA): weak, watery, light flavor/consistency, maple, peppery, floral (x3), silky, caramel, “super sweet!,” medium texture, “almost jasmine,” (1 favorite)
Saguaro (AZ): low sweetness, nondescript, earthy, rougher texture, coffee, smoke, crystallized texture, crunchy, desert-y, “just sweet”
Closer look at the crystallization of the saguaro honey
Wildflower (Edison, WA): delicate, light (x2), sweet, plain, herbal, light texture, “not a lot of character”
Wildflower (Sonoran Desert, AZ)): big flavor, bitter, almost savory, long finish, standard, smooth, amber, smoky, caramel, medium texture, very sweet (x2), “too sweet, called me babydoll” (1 favorite)
For some ideas on how to do a honey tasting, see this post.
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