I, too, got this tea as a free sample from Upton Tea Imports. Right now I don’t know if I can write an objective review. I brewed the tea, a mix of longer and shorter leaves, happily. The dry tea did indeed smell fragrant and I wonder if the elusive aroma is the muscatel aroma that I’ve heard described. It tasted as if there were a bit of jasmine involved.
Then I got into a dispute with my grey cat, Bongo, about the dispensation of some horseradish flavoured sharp cheddar cheese. He wanted the cheese; I didnt’ want him to have it. I proffered a small bite; he wanted to snag a large piece. In this war with the feline cheese mendicant I forgot my tea. At least 8 to 10 minutes had passed. I knew the tea was ruined. Nevertheless, I poured some milk into the dark brownish-red brew and sipped. How forgiving is this tea! It was not at all bitter. It didn’t taste overcooked or oversteeped: it did taste strong and pungent but pleasantly so.
I can become a convert to Darjeelings quickly when I consider how this sweet tea bounced back from the abuse I had hurled at it and was very tasty indeed. As I drink more and more tea, I do become much more interested in unblended teas and in teas without the frou-frou that I typically love.
Next time, I will be more attentive, but I’m thrilled with the tea. It was like the heady sense of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I will continue with my sample packet, but this is going on the short-list of must-purchase teas.