Smoky and blood orange? Sign me up! Though the dry leaf smells fully blood orange – I can’t find any smoke. But it’s a really good and true-to-life blood orange smell so I really can’t find it within myself to care one bit that there is no smoke. The blood orange smell is lovely. LOVELY, I say!
The smell of the tea post-steeping isn’t as just-peeled-a-blood-orange delicious. There’s a tannin-ish prickle of maybe-smoke and a hint of orange peel tang and sweetness. Not as intoxicating as sniffing straight from the tin. I find that I want to be a bit disappointed with that, but I’m going to reserve judgement.
The taste is more similar to the smell of the liquid instead of the dry leaf. Brisk is the first word that comes to mind – brisk but with a definite true-citrus-fruit flavor that gives it a little tangy sweetness. I happen to love that orange peel/zest/oil type of orange flavor so I like this but this also has an almost floral edge, especially when very hot. As it cools it’s more juicy orange with a bit of peel, which I think is lovely and much preferred over the almost-floral. And added bonus, slurping brings out a more orange-juice-ish flavor.
When I hear “smoky”, I tend to think of things like Bohea or Lapsang Souchong. I love my is-this-tea-or-a-smoked-ham? smoky teas. So I don’t really think this one is smoky at all. There’s a bit of that smoky prickle at the end of the sip but that’s all I get unless I slurp madly and then I get faint notes of campfire. But just faint.
All in all, though, I have to say that this is a very well done tea. Part of me wants stronger orange and smoke, something to match the strength of the orange smell in the dry leaf, but I think that would make this an entirely different type of tea. As it is, this tea is delightfully mellow and relaxing and rather elegant. I feel fancy just sipping on it. So while I love the strong orange smell of the dry leaf, I kind of love the more subtle and balanced taste of the actual tea. I have a feeling this is going to be one I reach for over and over. Though probably more in the afternoon than first thing in the morning.