Honey is one of those things that I always have in the cupboard, but haven’t ever really thought about that much. I sometimes have it on toast, drizzled over baked goats’ cheese, or use it in baking. It’s great in tea with lemon and fresh ginger. I use it in salad dressings. But I’ve never been too discerning about what brand I buy.

This was an interesting test, and tricky in a way, because there are so many different types of honey. So many. Different flowers, different fruits, different sets and consistencies. I have avoided set honey and manuka honey for the sake of consistency, but I am aware that the samples don’t exactly correlate. Some of them are based on specific flowers and so on. But it’s really tricky to find six different samples of exactly the same breed of honey, so just go with me on this.

As before, I feel I need a rambling disclaimer: obviously, I am doing this in my kitchen and not in a lab and I am not a scientist. These are the opinions of one person – that said, one person who has been trained to taste for quality. Also, the products used in this series are just examples – obviously each supermarket has, say, eight or nine different types of honey or whatever the product may be, and I’m not going to try every single one because what am I, made of money?

Finally, I should highlight that I tasted all the products blind, and at the time of tasting and making my notes I didn’t know which product came from which shop. I sat in one room while my glamorous assistant (er, my husband), prepared the samples in another. Any notes added regarding packaging and so on were only done after blind tasting, when I learned which who had made product A, B, C, D, or E.

The Blind Taste Test: Honey

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Honey
per 100g
£
kcal
fat
carb
fibre
protein
salt
Sainsbury’s
0.29
329
0.5
81.5
0.5
0.5
0.03
Waitrose
1.17
307
0
76.4
0
0.4
0.03
Rowse
0.84
329
0.5
81.5
0.5
0.5
0.03
Aldi – Everyday Essentials
0.29
328
0.5
82
0.5
0.5
0.01
Wilkin & Sons
1.51
355
0
86
0
0
0
Hilltop Honey
1.76
333
0.5
83
0.5
0.5
0.02
Tesco Finest
0.88
326
0.1
81.0
0.1
0.5
0.01

A – Rowse – 6/10

  • A deep amber colour. Fairly thin, very runny. Doesn’t smell like anything other than generic honey. Tastes quite floral – nice depth of flavour, not just pure sugar on the palate.

B – Aldi – 5/10

  • Lighter, a pale gold. Thicker and more viscous than A. Tastes sweet – generically sugary rather than carrying a specific flavour.

C – Wilkin & Sons – 7/10

  • A pale yellow gold. Much thicker than A or B, really coats a spoon. A interesting, complex scent. Sweet, but with an interesting flavour – elements of citrus. Enjoyable to eat.

D – Hilltop Honey – 7/10

  • The palest honey by far, almost clear. Medium thickness. Great taste. A bitter backnote against the sweetness, which gives it a complex and rounded flavour.

E – Tesco Finest – 3/10

  • One of the darkest, a rich orange. Thick, clinging to the spoon. A very distinctive taste, which I personally did not like. What I thought was an odd and unpleasant flavour – a sourness.

F – Sainsbury’s – 7/10

  • Mid golden colour. Quite thin. Smells lovely. Quite a lot of flavour – a floral taste.

G – Waitrose – 3/10

  • One of the darkest and thickest samples – really clings to a spoon. An odd smell and taste, which I found really quite unpleasant.

Conclusions

E (Tesco) and G (Waitrose) were notably different to all of the other samples. The rest were all subtly different from each other, but enjoyable in their own ways. All of those would be fine for eating, using in baking, or anything you might choose to use honey for. This might be one of those matters of personal taste – I’m not sure if any of these were objectively bad – but I certainly wouldn’t buy samples E or G again. They had an incredibly strong taste and smell, and I can’t imagine what I would use them for.