This tea tricked and impressed me. I received it yesterday as one of four free samples from The Tea Merchant – thank you! It came wrapped up in brown tissue paper with a golden wax seal. LOVED that. I steeped up a cuppa this darjeeling this afternoon and must admit it’s my first darjeeling. While I love black teas, I have not experienced a darjeeling yet so I didn’t know what I was in for. The aroma was a bit musty and reminded me of barns and animals – not in a negative way, but in a hay-ish sort of way. No poo smell, I swear.
Steeped for three minutes, I have a surprisingly light orangeish liquor which shares the aroma of the dry leaf, but more refined somehow. It’s like the dry aroma was a fuzzy picture and the steeped liquor is it’s sharper cousin. The taste is impressive – again, it’s clearly a black tea but really good quality. It’s smooth and has a hint of astringency underneath the tea. I find it hard to describe, other than black tea. My words are failing me today.. EDIT: After reading other reviews, malty totally fits what I am getting here. It’s very malty – I don’t know what muscatel means, really, so I can’t speak to that but it reminds me of rich beer, almost.
I must say that I thought the leaves were a bit small for a pure tea and I expected that to translate into more bitterness, but it doesn’t seem to have. I expected fuller leaf, but this doesn’t suffer for the breakage that is there. Solid black tea – not my favourite, but certainly would make a good standard black in the cupboard.