Doulton’s Shakespeare: A Tasting Note in 5 Acts
Act I scene 7
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Oh the smell of the sampler when I opened it: a fruity ever-so-lightly smoky fragrance. I actually thought that this would make an excellent perfume. I have yet to throw out the bag: I keep sniffing it.
I was a bit concerned with Samovar’s instructions. I tend to make larger cups of tea using about the same amount of tea (if not a little more). What if I destroy my first experience with Samovar? And I was still concerned after I went for it and had my first few sips. I felt like it really wasn’t that remarkable of a tea. Then the magic happened.
I’ve never had lychee before (I now suspect that there’s some in the Nil Noir that I had yesterday), but I think it’s absolutely delightful. As I sipped my first steep I began my now almost ritualistic pondering of where this tea would fit in Shakespeare’s works. I got a lot more sweetness than smokiness out of this tea. It’s as if the tea blender just happened to be in a room where a fireplace was in use. Just the subtlest hints of smoke.
During my musings I kept coming back to Hamlet, but Hamlet the character or the play? It just wasn’t sitting well with me. This tea is elegant in its simplicity, but I think that my Hamlet tea will be complex as all get out and still be one of the best cups of tea in my life. It may be years before I stumble upon my Hamlet. Then I tried to think of sweet/masculine characters: Romeo? No. That’s not right either. And then the glimmer of an idea came. I should look at sonnets. I realized that if I felt like writing a poem to the tea that I’m drinking, then I should peruse the sonnets and see if one fits. And one did for this tea.
Sonnet 116. It’s got it all: the declarations of love, beauty, and most importantly it is very masculine. I didn’t study much of Shakespeare’s sonnets in school, but I thought that I recalled that these are written from one man to another. So I did some research and found a great site that helps put the sonnets in context. Here’s the link to Sonnet 116 in its entirety as well as its commentary for those who are curious: http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/116comm.htm You’ll need to scroll down a bit to get the sonnet and its commentary. This tea truly is a beautifully sweet masculine sonnet. TG