This glossary can allow everyone to better understand the vocabulary of honey. It can help describe the experience perceived during a tasting. This vocabulary can also allow you to better target your tastes and choose the honeys you like from your beekeeper.

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Hexagonal wax structure in which honey, pollen, or bee brood are stored.

Aromas or flavors reminiscent of sweat, musk, leather, cheese, and meat. It can also evoke the straw and animals found in stables, or stronger smells like civet, animal secretion, and fur. 

Emanations perceived by the nose when the honey is either in a glass, in the mouth, or if it has just been swallowed. The aromatic complexity of honey can be revealed throughout the tasting. Aromas have the power to make you relive beautiful moments buried deep within.

Aromatic honey
Said of honey with rich and strong aromas. 

Aromatic profile
All the aromatic characteristics of honey. The impact of texture and flavors is also considered in the honey’s aromatic profile.

Artisanal beekeeping
Beekeeping based on a set of traditional know-how and experience of our ancestors, and on the advances of science. It is environmentally friendly and is practiced on a small scale.

Artisanal honey
Honey harvested and extracted by qualified beekeepers in limited quantities, based on the principles of artisanal beekeeping. Unpasteurized, decanted or lightly filtered honey.

Slightly bitter and harsh character in the mouth caused by the tannins. Gives a feeling of dryness to the oral mucosa.

When all the flavors and impressions in the mouth seem in harmony. The balance can be perceived within the aromatic profile of a honey, or when paired with cheese. This association will be said to be balanced when one product does not dominate the other.

Set of specific olfactory notes to characterize honey.

Comb (see Honeycomb)
Natural wax-based construction that bees use to store brood, honey, or pollen.

Qualifies a multi-layered perception in terms of aromas and tastes.

Subtle, light and pleasant aromatic profile.

Refers to the aromas most present in honey.

The action of removing the honey from the combs using centrifugal force.

The lingering taste honey leaves after being swallowed.

1. A set of sensory components perceived when tasting honey: aromas (olfactory receptors), flavors (taste buds), and mouthfeel (trigeminal sensations).
2. Perception on the tongue by the taste buds of sour, sweet, bitter, salty, and umami. Some use the word taste, but taste is one of our five senses.

Aromas or flavors reminiscent of flowers (fresh or dried) or perfume.

Aromas or flavors reminiscent of something refreshing like rain, peppermint, verbena, eucalyptus, anise, and even stronger smells like camphor, rosemary, thyme, or menthol.

Carbohydrates (or "sugar") found mainly in fruits and honey in their natural form. The sweetness of fructose is greater than that of glucose.

Aromas or flavors reminiscent of fresh and dried fruit, berries, and citrus.

Rich in aromas.

Glucose (Dextrose)
One of the simplest sugars, glucose is found in honey and fruit.

This is a method where honey from different sources, often from different provinces or countries is mixed. Consistent flavor, appearance, and texture are often desired by consumers, so homogenization is often used by large producers. It also enables said producers to incorporate lesser-quality honey into the mix. Honey should taste differently from one apiary to the next, from one year to the next, but that subtlety is lost with homogenization.

Product made by bees from plant nectar or honeydew.

Honey is stored in the hive by the bees. The beekeeper removes the frame containing the wax comb full of honey and covered with the capping applied by the bees. The honeycomb can be portioned, packaged, and sold. It is honey in its most natural form.

Which expresses itself with power and duration.

Degree of the stimulus caused by the perceived sensation.

Aromas or flavors reminiscent of fermentation: yeast, vinegar, bread, tamari, yogurt.

Said of a moderately intense honey, sustained in flavor.

Honey from a single type of plant often referred to as varietal honey, i.e., buckwheat or lavender honey.

1. Set of characteristics perceived in the mouth, namely smell, touch, and taste.
2. A sensory attribute to a physical characteristic of honey.

Long mouthfeel 
Whose aromas leave a pleasant and persistent impression in the mouth and aftertaste.

Short mouthfeel
Which leaves few traces in the mouth and aftertaste. 

Natural honey
Extracted honey, unpasteurized, lightly filtered.

Sweet and viscous liquid secreted by floral nectaries which attracts pollinating insects.

Distinctive and identifiable feature of an odor or flavor.

Perception of volatile compounds by the olfactory epithelium through the nasal passages. Odors (aromas, perfumes, and fragrances) can be characterized by their complexity, intensity, duration, chronology, and dominance.

Closing of a cell containing bee larvae or honey with a wax called the operculum.

Overwinter (Wintering)
Bees do not hibernate, they cluster together and produce heat to protect themselves from the cold.

A process within the microfiltration process used to raise the temperature of the honey to around 60°C so that it passes quickly and easily through the filters. The reason for pasteurization is simple: the honey will stay liquid longer. This is very convenient if you want the product to look the same for a long time on the shelves. However, pasteurization damages the honey’s natural enzymes, and flavors, and reduces its nutrient content. Honey does not spoil unless it is diluted with water (or has a very high water content), which could cause it to ferment. Therefore, honey does not need to be heat-treated.

Quality of aromas that stay in the mouth for a long time.

Contains the male gametes of flowers in the context of their reproduction. It is a source of protein and vitamins for many insects, including bees.

Honey from wildflowers or from several varieties of flowers that the bees have foraged around the hive. It can be identified according to the terroir or according to the harvest season, either spring, summer, or autumn.

A flavor profile that has rich layers of aromas and tastes.

Said of honey that expresses itself with character with rich and intense flavors.

Vegetable resin used by bees to seal the inside of the hive. It is harvested for its anti-infective properties.

Raw honey
There is no official definition of raw honey, but it can be described as unheated and unfiltered honey. Raw honey is not heated above 40°C (the maximum internal temperature of a hive), is not filtered at all, but is often decanted to remove debris produced in the process of extraction.

Retronasal olfaction (Retronasal smell)
Getting the aromas in the mouth by retronasal pathways, located between the nasal fossae and the palate.

Rich and intense aromas with a raw and natural side that evoke the countryside and the farm.

Sensory analysis
The technical description of honey through its visual examination, its aromatic palette on the nose, its flavors and textures on the palate. With the sensory profile of honey, you have precise information on its flavors, aromas, and tactile qualities. The sensory profile also allows comparison between honeys.It is a technique that allows:·       To evaluate the organoleptic qualities of a honey·       To measure its sensory characteristics·       To find and define preferences·       To involve the five senses in a single experience

Said of a fresh and light honey with a slight acidic dominance, but without excess.

Said of honey that is both round in the mouth and slightly thick.

Qualifies an aroma that remains present in the mouth for a long time.

Qualifies honey with delicate and complex flavors and aromas.

Refer to the word flavor.

The tactile quality of honey as it is felt in the mouth. Also called mouthfeel.

Trigeminal sensations
Relates to sensations in the mouth that are perceived by the oral mucosa: hot (chili), fresh (menthol), prickly (soft drink), and astringent (wine tannins).

While the honey is heated, it is pressed through a very fine filter to remove all impurities like small crystals, wax particles, and pollen. Filtration makes the honey very clear and appealing to consumers while keeping the product liquid longer, as small particles could trigger crystallization. What remains is no longer honey, but rather a sweet syrup because some of the honey’s natural flavors and colors are also removed in the process.

Aromas or flavors reminiscent of green or dried grass, raw vegetables, and unripe fruits.

Which characterizes the greater or lesser fluidity of honey.

Aromas or flavors in the mouth providing a feeling of warmth due to the richness of the notes. Warm flavors include molasses, coffee, smoke, cocoa, caramel, nuts, confectionery (barley sugar, cotton candy, marshmallow, white chocolate), and lactic notes (milk, butter, fresh cream).

The material used by bees to store brood, honey, and pollen.

Aromas or flavors reminiscent of dry wood, resins, soil, coconut, and some spices such as cinnamon, pepper, cloves, ginger, and vanilla.