Sourwood honey is consistently one of the most sought after honeys around the world, and for good reason. Sourwood honey has a beautiful amber color and bold, yet balanced, flavor: buttery sweet with rounded caramel notes on the back end. Here at Asheville Bee Charmer, we’re especially fond of Sourwood because we make it in our own backyard, the beautiful southern Appalachian Mountains.
In this article, we’ll explore a little sourwood history, what makes sourwood honey unique, and why it’s so darn popular.
Where Sourwood Honey Comes From
Sourwood honey is specific to the United States since sourwood trees only grow within our eastern mountain corridors. The top sourwood honey producers, however, come from the southern Appalachian mountain regions of western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia.
Sourwood honey is created when honey bees collect pollen and nectar from sourwood tree flowers. Due to the density of sourwood trees in the southern mountains, honey bees can feed almost exclusively from their flowers during peak season, which results in pure monofloral honey. (Learn more about monofloral honey)
About Sourwood Trees
The Latin name for the sourwood tree is Oxydendrum arboreum. They are a key member of the mountain forest landscape in the southeast, and are most known for their brilliant crimson autumn leaves and, of course, the honey bees favorite part: their cascading fleecy white flowers which emerge in the early summer.
The sourwood tree can reach up to 30 feet tall, and the largest stands can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains. The tree bark is distinctly scaly, and the trunk is narrow and spindly.
Taste and Flavor Profile
Sourwood honey tastes like buttery caramel and has a beautiful amber color. The aftertaste has a slight twang that has been likened to gingerbread. Sour honey smells like cinnamon and cloves and has a smooth and syrupy texture.
Sourwood Honey Health Benefits
In general, raw honey is known for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. As with other pure local honeys, Sourwood also has a reputation for helping allergy symptoms, especially those related to pollen found in the sourwood tree’s native areas.
Where to Buy Sourwood Honey
Sourwood has been deemed North Carolina’s most famous honey. Every August, Black Mountain, North Carolina, hosts the Sourwood Festival, celebrating the beautiful Appalachian native sourwood tree, and its delicious, unparalleled honey. Hundreds of vendors and families attend the festival, which has everything from music and dancing to arts and face painting. In addition, local beekeepers attend the festival to sell their praise-worthy Sourwood Honey. But you don’t have to travel all the way to North Carolina to experience the taste.
Our Sourwood honey is available for purchase online in a variety of sizes.