Golden Moon sample No. 23 of 31. Since I’m getting toward the end, and had an insatiable wave of curiosity come over me, I randomly drew the order of all of my last samples. This is the first. Here’s the order of the rest: Darjeeling, Tippy Earl Grey, Honey Pear, Rose, Kashmiri Chai (yay!), Imperial Formosa Oolong, Sencha and (drum roll please) Sinharaja.
The little gunpowder nodules look a lot like they did in the Moroccan Mint. I’m guessing they are the base for that tea. When I sniffed them without the influence of mint, I got a really interesting smell. At first, like Rabs I thought it was some form of rodent chow, or maybe lagomorph chow. That sort of grassy smell of those big blocks of compressed organic mystery material that pet rats chew on, or of the smaller pellets for rabbits. Second time, coming at it from having cleared my smeller by not being near anything with a strong smell for a few minutes I realized what it truly is. Millet seed. It’s the smell of the seeds I used to give to my pet finches. Or maybe it was the canary or parakeet. Can’t be sure now as that was a long time ago, but I definitely recognize the smell.
After steeping, I had an aromatic surprise. Up until now I haven’t been able to detect any smokiness at all in gunpowder. Mostly what I get instead is a sort of “dusky” or heavy green smell. With this, I did get a smoky aroma. Not smoky in the Russian or Lapsang sense, where you can really smell charred evergreen trees. More of a light whiff with a seed essence, as though you’d walked into a room where a sesame seed bagel had toasted too long after enough time had elapsed that the smell had almost fully dissippated. Along with that, there is the dusky green I remembered, which has a sweet aspect to it. The color is a deep, clear yellow.
The flavor isn’t as sweet and vegetal as other greens. It, too, has a dusky character with a sort of a nutty (or rather seedy) taste to it. I can find a tad of bitterness, but not enough to make it unpalatable.
I have very limited experience with gunpowder and may have to downgrade this eventually, but my experience hasn’t been nearly as unpleasant as reflected in the notes of a lot of other tasters. Or perhaps I’m just in a charitable mood. Really, though I didn’t dislike this at all, in fact, I liked it — my only hesitations are that I think it’s not something I’d choose to drink a lot, and that I don’t have a frame of reference to know how this compares to others of the same type of tea. So I’m giving it a default very good rating until I have grounds for comparison.