All authors dealing with wines agree about it: grape is the single most important thing in wine making. Trying to imitate a great wine with poor grapes will result in a poor wine.

Maybe thousands of honeys exist worldwide for thousands of flowers exist. There are more than 300 types of honey available in the United States. Some can be found only in limited areas, others can be found more or less everywhere.

The most common honey, wild flowers honey, is characterized by... its lack of characterization, it is made from miscellaneous flowers. It can be light or dark, mellow to rather strong depending on flower species it contains. Some other honeys (heather, tulip poplar, buckwheat) are strong flavored. The issue is: are these flavors the ones one seeks in mead. It is therefore safer to start with rather neutral honeys like clover honey (if wild flower honey is used, the same honey is to be used each time as there are large differences between two different wild flower honeys).

Prices and chemical properties of honeys vary as much as their flavors. The flavor of lighter-colored honeys is generally milder, and the flavor of darker honeys stronger. On average, honey contains 17.2 % of water and 79.6 % of sugar (96 % of the dry mass). The main two sugars are fructose (38.2 %) and glucose (31.3 %). The quantities of water and sucrose (1.3 %) have an effect on crystallization. Maltose (7.3 %) and complex sugars  (1.5 %) proportions have an effect on the complexity of the taste of honey. pH (3.9 on average!) is important for preservation and nitrogen  (0.04 %) will help during fermentation (nutrients for yeasts). There are also 0.17 % ashes (minerals). The main acid of honey is gluconic acid [M2]. See composition.pdf to get the composition of lots of honeys.

When honey crystallizes, as crystals contain little water, the honey which remained liquid becomes richer in water; which can allow bacteria to develop.

Given the quantities to be used, buying honey in bulk may happen to be necessary to cut costs. It is better to buy little/not filtered/heated honey.

Floral varietals


Blooming periodsummer
ColorWhite to extra light amber
Tastefine flavor with a good body


Blooming periodlate June and July
TasteIt has a distinctive biting/sharp flavor.


Blooming period 
Colorwater-white to extra light amber
TasteThe most common floral source in the U.S. Clover honey has a mild, delicate flavor

Orange Blossom

Blooming periodMarch and April
Colorwhite to extra light amber
TasteThis honey is often a combination of citrus floral sources. It has a distinctive flavor and the aroma of orange blossoms.


Blooming period 
Colorwhite or water-white
Tastemild, delicate flavor


Blooming period 
TasteSpecialty honey from North Carolina. Less sweet than most.

Tulip Poplar

Blooming periodMay
Colordark amber
TasteIts flavor is not as strong as could be expected from its dark color.


Blooming periodApril and May
Colorwhite or extra light amber with a greenish cast.
TasteTupelo honey has a mild, pleasant flavor. It is also known to be slow to crystallise and fairly expensive.

Wild flower

A blend of honeys. No two wild flower honeys have the same composition, so its color and taste vary greatly.

January 22nd 2003