What’s this? A new Kusmi? Where did that come from, how did this happen?
Well, actually I do know what happened. See, I was walking home from work this afternoon. The distance between the hospital where I work and the train station is short enough that I can conveniently walk and long enough that it actually feels like taking a proper walk to do so. As I was passing this department store, I heard this tiny metallic voice.
Puzzled, I decided to go and investigate. After all, it sounded like someone was in trouble. I went inside and followed the tinny little voice.
“Halp!” through the perfume and makeup section.
“Halp!” through the ladies’ undies and shoes.
“Halp!” past the chocolatiers’ counters.
“Halp, halp!” as I finally reached the shelves with the store’s Kusmi selection. It was definitely coming from around here. And then I saw it. A 125g tin of smoky earl grey, bouncing up and down among the other tins. “I iz here! I iz here!”
That’s the first time a tea tin has ever spoken to me! So I went closer, wondering what was going on here. “Are you talking to me?” I asked it stupidly.
“Da odda tins, dey’s meen to me! U haz to buy me!” it begged. “Pwease! I can haz outta here? I gives u mah tea leafs!”
A talking tea tin. I’ve never seen anything like it. Obviously, I couldn’t just leave it there all alone being bullied by the other larger tins. I had to help it out. I’m sure you all would have done the same. So I decided right then and there that I would rescue this poor tin. I would even have done so without the payment of its tea leaves, but it wouldn’t hear of it.
Truth be told, I’m not really all that fond of Earl Grey. It’s okay if it’s all I can get, but it’s not something I otherwise seek out. This does have the advantage of also being smoky, which is definitely something I do seek out. Perhaps the smoke might actually save the otherwise not very attractive bergamot for me.
The leaves as well as the steeped tea have a pretty strong aroma or equal parts smoke and bergamot. These two things are actually blended really well, and while I can detect both of them in the aroma, I can pick it apart and say ‘this is smoke’ or ‘this is bergamot’. They really are completely melted together.
I’ve had this one before, actually, last year when the boyfriend and I were in Paris visiting friends who lived there at the time. I wasn’t in a position then to pay that much attention to the cup, though, but I remembered the fact that it existed and I did apparently pay sufficient attention to it to decide to give it a more thorough go later on if ever I got the chance. So I’ve been on the lookout for it ever since.
The bergamot and the smoke works really well together in the aroma, but in the flavour it comes across as a bit strange. Again I can pick out both flavours, but they’re not as well meshed here as in the aroma. I’m put in mind of some sort of smoked citrusfruit if you can imagine that. Bizarre, isn’t it?
There is definitely a whole lot of bergamot in this, but it’s surprisingly smooth. Usually, with strongly flavoured Earl Greys (and regular ones as well, often) I don’t find the bergamot very pleasant. For me bergamot has a tendency to taste extremely dusty. Imagine sweeping a floor that hasn’t seen a broom in years. The sort of task where you wear something protective over your clothes and a face mask because it’s so incredibly dusty. That’s the sort of dust I’m talking about here, and I can’t for the life of my understand how anybody can find that so wonderful when there are so many other better teas to choose from.
Smoke on the other hand is right up my alley. Lapsang Souchong is one of my favourites, not just because of the smokyness, but also because of the fruity sweetness that almost always accompanies the smoke. A smoky tea is just not the same without that, and even with the heavy-handed bergamot in this one, the sweet note is actually still there. Amazing, isn’t it?
So a combination then of sweetness, bergamot and smoke. It turns into a really rather fresh sort of flavour. Almost sort of pseudo-minty, weirdly, although you will probably relieved that it isn’t actually mint, but it sort of leads the mind in the direction of some kind of minty smoke. Oh, I know what it reminds me of! Have you ever had a cup of LS shortly after brushing your teeth? That’s the sort of thing.
That didn’t make it sound any less bizarre, did it?
It is a bit weird, but surprisingly it’s also quite nice. If I’m to drink Earl Grey this is the one I want. My perfect Earl Grey, apparently, is apparently not a real Earl Grey. I can’t say that I’m surprised that it would turn out to be a smoky one. Perfect Earl Grey or not, though, it still isn’t something I would necessarily choose over my established favourites.
At any rate, drinking this is hardly a chore when combined with the fact that I rescued the little tin from all the other meanie tins.
(I swear that’s really what happened! No, really!)