I have never had this before! Spoonvonstrup has begifted me with a whole little treasure trove. The whole swap got on the way because of two teas. One was the TGY from Verdant which it was deemed necessary for me to also attempt some gong-fu-ing of and this one which Spoonvonstrup thought I would be likely to enjoy. There are several different samples of JJM and most of them are brandless. I’m documenting them anyway, so that I can remember what I thought of the type later on. This one came out of a red wrapper.
Apparently, this is a type of Lapsang Souchong. I didn’t know that. Or I did, but had temporarily forgotten and was just reminded of it now. Based on that I was expecting something kinda smoky and I was surprised when the aroma showed up to be decidedly non so. It was grainy, primarily, but not really smoky at all. I found that a bit odd. I don’t think I’ve ever met an LS that didn’t smell smoky. My mind slipped to the unsmoked LS that LiberTEAs tried the other day and wondered if this was something of the same sort.
The flavour reveals that it isn’t. It’s definitely smoky now. At first when it was warmest I got a mostly grainy flavour again, sort of like the aroma and then smoke showed up as an afterthought. There is a fair bit of astringency as well, as the boyfriend pointed out and then proceeded to tell me that he thought some of my unflavoured blacks were a little too astringent for his tastes. When asked for further details he couldn’t tell me which ones they were. Apparently it’s something of a surprise that I need to know this stuff so that I can not continue to give them to him.
As I’m trying to type and drink tea around a sleepy but social cat (what do you mean make her go away??? I can’t! She’s cute!) the cup has cooled somewhat before I got very far drinking it. At this point the smoke comes out a lot more and a lot sooner in the sip. It’s quite smoky now and also somewhat grainy. The grain now merely forms a base where before it was more or less the primary note.
In LSs I like there to be a certain sweetness and fruityness to complement the smoke. That aspect is as much a requirement for the perfect LS as the smoke is. I would like to be able to say that this aspect is present in this tea. Alas, this is not the case. I’m getting a little of it out of the grainy-ness but not really to the same extent as I have come to prefer.
However, all is not lost. I don’t usually get grain-y flavours from LS in a quantity that has made me notice and remember them, and to my surprise I find that this good amount of grain in the flavour works in much the same way as that fruity sweetness. It provides a balance with the smoke, preventing the smoky note from getting too harsh and prickly. And you know, it’s quite good at it too.
Not all teas have genders, but LS is one of the few types that does. It’s male to me. I’ve always thought of it as very much towards the alpha-male end of the spectrum as well. This one is even male-r than that, somehow. If regular LS is the sort of tea that buys a motorcycle and plays rugby, then JJM is the sort of tea that travels to the moon. For fun.
Before I find myself stuck in a quagmire of gender stereotypes, I shall end the post. I really enjoyed this one. Good call, Spoonvonstrup!