I had some of this this morning on a relatively pure palate (ok, I did have the rest of the LIT Keemun first, but other than that…) and I am starting to understand it better.
It hit me when I went to dispose of the spent leaves. The aroma that came from them reminded me of something, and though I can’t be very specific about it, the thought came to me: it’s that French thing.
There’s a quality about the Dammann Freres, Mariage Freres, The O Dor and Kusmi teas I’ve tried that is similar, and that for lack of a better descriptor I think of as “that French thing.” There’s something elegant about the blends, something that gives an impression of haute… something, whether it’s couture, or cuisine, or whatever. It’s the same quality one finds in fine French food, fashion, perfume. It has a sense of timelessness and at the same time, it feels old world. It has, as Doulton would say, je ne sais quoi.
The whiff I got of the leaves approached that quality. Though I think it is more “neo” than the true French thing, I am bumping it points for capturing the essence of the French thing.