Honey Journal #19
Name: Smiley Apiaries Tupelo Honey
You can buy it: On the Internet here.
Country: Florida, USA
Purchased: October 2008
Color: Rapunzel gold
Flavor:Rich and buttery with a clear statement of clove. Feels warm and soothing as it coats your throat. Very sweet, but not cloying.
Fragrance:A suggestion of cut hay.
Notes:You might call this entry Tupelo II. I have read and heard so much about this prized honey that I didn’t want to just leave it at one go. Plus, I thought it would be interesting to do a taste comparison. This particular brand, Smiley Apiaries and its crusty, dedicated owner, Donald Smiley, achieved some notoriety in Holley Bishop’s fine book, Robbing the Bees which I have heartily recommended in a previous entry.
Parenthetically, I just finished another excellent book on bees, Fruitless Fall, by Rowan Jacobson.The author seeks to unravel the mystery behind the Colony Collapse Disorder, the sudden death of so many bees. It’s well written and full of fascinating information about bees and the role they play in modern farming. I’ll have more to say about this book in another entry, but let me note now that I strongly recommend it.
Jacobson has exhaustively research the CCD problem and reached a challenging conclusion: it’s not one thing that’s decimating the bees; it’s many. Bee-killing mites, pesticides, overwork, and forced travel (bees shipped across the country in trucks) are just a few of the culprits. One problem wouldn’t be enough to do the bees in, but all together they compromise the bees’ immune system. Bees are at once very hardy and fragile just like everything else in nature.
Back to Smiley’s Tupelo Honey: Here’s an interesting reaction. In addition to loving the rich, buttery, clovey flavor, I can’t stop looking at the jar. This is the most beautiful honey I’ve ever seen. It relaxes it me just to study its gorgeous golden hue. And, since its Tupelo honey, as I discussed in the last entry, it never crystallizes, so there is nothing to mar its beauty. But its taste matches its good looks. Of course, it’s untreated and unheated.
The Savannah Tupelo honey that I reviewed last month was harvested in southern Georgia. Smiley’s bees work in the Florida Panhandle along the Apalachicola River basin.
Between the two Tupelos, both of which I like, I give Smiley’s the clear nod. This is honey at its best – sweet cream, true nectar. If I wanted to introduce someone to the good stuff, this honey would be my first choice. As a Christmas gift for a honey lover or potential one, you couldn’t do better.