When you shop for honey, you may encounter many different varieties of honey. There are many differences between various jars or squeeze bottles of honey – from how the honey was processed during packaging to the beekeeping practices used to make the honey. Those factors greatly affect both the quality and taste of honey regardless of which varietal is on the honey label. Even honey labeled as a single varietal like clover can lack depth and uniqueness if it is highly processed honey. On the other hand, raw, unfiltered clover honey will have retained the unique characteristics of the clover varietal that gives it a full flavor profile with nuances and undertones to savor and compare with other honey varieties.
This is because the varietal or “flavor” of a honey does not speak to the way honey is made or processed. Honey labeled as clover honey, simply means that the bees foraged on clover flowers to collect the nectar that they then turned into honey.
See this post to understand more about honey labels.
For this post, we discuss the flavors and qualities of clover honey in its natural, raw and unfiltered form.
Clover Honey Flavor Profile
The flavor of clover honey comes from the plant, and more specifically the flowers that provided nectar to the bees. Clover flowers have a strong, flowery aroma, which transfers over into the honey made from their nectar. This flowery flavor is mild and light, giving clover honey a sweet, and pleasantly mild taste.
Depending on the specific terroir or variety of clover (there are yellow, white and even purple variations of clover), there may be more pronounced undertones that generally appear as an aftertaste or after the “first taste” on your tongue. As the delicately sweet taste of clover honey leaves your tastebuds and travels down your throat, you might be pleasantly surprised by a hint of any of the following:
- A mild astringent aroma resembling the scent of fresh hay
- The warm familiar notes of cinnamon and nutmeg
- A lingering sweetness similar to vanilla
What Does Clover Honey Smell Like?
As mentioned before, clover honey is made from the nectar of clover flowers, with some of the most common clover varieties including White Dutch, Red, and White. Due to its popularity, clover honey is commonly used as a benchmark for other types of honey when comparing color, texture and aroma.
Clover honey’s smell is similar to its taste. Prior to tasting clover honey, take a few short sniffs as you would with a good wine. You’ll notice a mild flowery smell that may also contain hints of freshly cut grass. Its very delicate aroma may also contain notes of spicy cinnamon or plums; overall, it is a very light, gently sweet scent.
What Does Clover Honey Look Like?
Depending on where it is harvested, clover honey is usually very light in color, typically appearing as a very light amber or sometimes even white. Because it contains more glucose than fructose, it tends to crystallize quite quickly. Regardless, clover honey should be one of the most easily distinguishable honeys by look due to its characteristic yellow-amber color. Of course color can vary from batch to batch just as much as flower to flower due to variations in season, weather and other changes in terroir.
What is Clover Honey Good For?
Raw and unfiltered clover honey has many of the same antiseptic characteristics of other raw honey varieties, but its delicate taste is what really puts clover honey in a unique position. Its mild and pleasing flavor and aroma is appealing to a wide range of pallets and as a result is good as an overall sweetener for things like tea or toast. It can be difficult to use it in baking or cooking, however, because other flavors can easily overpower it.
Is Clover Honey Better than Other Honeys?
Clover honey has a delicately sweet flavor and leaves a uniquely pleasant aftertaste. It has a floral aroma and a light yellow color and a wide variety of benefits and uses. It is incredibly common to find thanks to the prevalence of clover flowers and its mild and well-liked flavor. The best way to get the best tasting clover honey is to find an artisanal honey producer that is transparent about their beekeeping and packing process. Only raw and unfiltered clover honey will give you the unique layers of flavor discussed in this post.
Big Island Bees is an artisanal producer of three unique Hawaiian honey varietals. Our honey is raw and unfiltered and we tend to our own hives with deliberate care for the health of the bees and environment – without the use of chemical miticides or artifical feeds. We have proudly been the first place recipient of the Good Foods Awards in 2021 and 2022 in the honey category.