If there’s darjeeling in here, as the Kusmi site appears to suggest, it’s a very dark one. The dry leaves in the sample tin have no green-ness to them. If I try really hard, I can get a bit of a darjeeling sharpness in the smell of the dry leaf, but it isn’t overly obvious. Mostly it smells like a peppery black tea. Hmm. I got pepper in the Earl Grey too.
The aroma is mild with a tiny bit of the pepper I smelled in the dry leaf. Otherwise it has a generic black tea smell. It’s a medium-dark amber with a little red in it.
The flavor has a cleanness and a perkiness to it that could well be from darjeeling. It’s a little brisk, and fairly smooth except for a small, barely noticeable peppery kick. I can see why this is billed as an evening tea. It isn’t thick or malty or hearty or eye-openingly strong, or any of the other qualities I’ve come to associate with breakfast blends.
It’s sort of like the Earl Grey, except without the pretext of being Earl Grey and so lacking a little bitterness injected by the bergamot, and though it has a peppery reminder, it’s not nearly as peppery as the Earl Grey is to my palate. Which makes it, actually, more pleasant to my mind than the Earl Grey. There’s a mild, slightly sweet aftertaste.
Though I like some of the other Kusmis better, this isn’t bad. It’s probably on the low end of the good black tea huddle I have going that I’m going to have to pare down eventually, but only because it doesn’t have the depth and character I enjoy in really fine black teas.