The dry leaf smells like meat that’s been soaked in soy sauce before smoking. Or like the meat has been smoked at too high of a temperature and almost burned but didn’t quite. Instead, it’s just really really dark. And salty. I only have the ROT’s to compare it to and this one smells more… carcinogenic.
All brewed up, this tea doesn’t smell near as strong as ROT’s, but instead of sweet maple tones to the smell, I get… pickle. BBQ’ed pickle. There’s a tartness in is somewhat vinegar-y. The husband was actually intrigued enough by the smell to try this before I did and his response was “Not a fan, but good.” I asked him explain because that’s… confusing. He replied that it was a good smoky taste but was too much for him – there was nothing else to it, unlike with overly smoked brisket, at least there is brisket under there. (He pretty much felt the same way about ROT’s – he felt no need to drink Liquid Smoke).
It’s cooled a little so I’m ready to try it. The scent I inhale is sweeter than what I was smelling before. No sweet maple or anything but no vinegar/pickle either. Just like a sweeter BBQ sauce. The taste initially is a lot milder than ROT’s, but it seems to expand in my mouth. Faint smoky tea building until my mouth is filled with a smoky but smooth flavor. If I keep sipping, that taste builds but if I take a little longer between sips, it fades.
I can actually get a little tea undertone to this after I swallow. It doesn’t appear regularly but rather when it’s been a bit longer between my sips so the smoke flavor that has built up in my mouth has faded some. Also, I’m getting a sweet, somewhat meat-like aftertaste.
I’m actually really liking this. I mean, I don’t think I could drink it every day, but I do really like it. To the point that, depending on how the second (and maybe third?) steeps go, I would seriously consider adding this to a GM order when I make one. It’s mild when compared to the ROT but definitely not too mild. Just really smooth and not overpowering. Definitely distinctive but…. relaxing and pleasant. I hope I have enough left of this for a second cup because I want to do a tasting with my dad over Christmas of this one and ROT’s – because if anyone could appreciate a smoke tea, it would be him.
ETA: Second steep @ 6:00. Smooth, smoky, sweet and really yummy. Yeah, I’m going to have to order some of this.
Third steep @ 8:00. Smooth, very sweet and a tail of smoky. SO. FREAKIN. GOOD.