Honey Flavor

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The most delightful quality of honeys is their flavors, which make them into natural sauce-like condiments. All honeys share a sweet taste base that is slightly tart and savory as well, and a complex aroma that has several different elements: caramel, vanilla, fruity (esters), floral (aldehydes), buttery (diacetyl), sweet-spicy (sotolon). Then honeys made from single nectars add their own distinctive notes. Buckwheat honey is malty (methylbutanal); chestnut honey carries the distinct note of corn tortillas (aminoacetophenone, with both floral and animal elements); citrus and lavender honeys are citrusy and herbal but share a grapy note (methyl anthranilate); linden honey includes a mixture of mint, thyme, oregano, and tarragon aromatics.