81
drank The du Tigre by Le Palais des Thes
911 tasting notes

Recently, my local(ish) grocery story re-did their tea section. They stopped carrying some of the more ‘normal’ teas (like Twinings and Bigelow) and added some new ones (like Teatulia and Le Palais des Thes). Even though most of the new teas they added are bagged (though they did add some loose, too), I couldn’t resist trying them. I was so pleased with Le Palais des Thes’ Blue of London that the next time I stopped into the store, I perused the other LPdT selections. This was one of the ones that I grabbed.

I do love smoky teas. Love them. But I am not too big on harsh tar in my smoky teas. And I just sort of expect tar in bagged Lapsang. (Probably because of the smell of the Twinings Lapsang Souchong bags that I use to make the husband’s iced tea.) So I really wasn’t expecting much from this tea. But yeah, I bought it anyway and was prepared to be disappointed.

I was wrong. It’s lovely! There’s no tar in this at all. It’s smooth and silky with no astringency and a nice, sweet ending. I will say, for a tea that is described as “the smokiest of the smoky”, it’s actually relatively mild. That’s not to say the smoke is hiding – oh no! It’s there, evoking thoughts of brisket, bacon and ham. But I was expecting harsh, strong and smoke that smacked me around. Instead it’s calming, softy smoky and has a very mellow overall feeling with a great smooth, round flavor. The ending is sweet and smooth and makes me think of caramelized sugar paired with soft smoke.

The bag gives off a great smoked-ham-with-a-honey-glaze sort of smoky smell, especially once hot water hits it. It’s mouthwatering. But after steeping for four minutes, the taste isn’t as strong as that smell. In fact, once the bag is removed, the smell mellows out to a thick, heavy fall-like smoke and sweetness. And that’s what the taste is – smoke, tea and sweetness. It’s not overly complex but it is very nice to have all three flavors present during all parts of the sip. It gives such a great overall feel to the tea – smoothness, sweetness, mellowness and cuddly fall-esque smoke.

If I had one complaint about this tea, it would be that it is almost too soft and mild. The strong smell of the steeping teabag leads me to expect more oomph in the smoke and not to have it almost on the same level as the sweetness in the tea. But honestly, I like the sweetness so much that I can’t find it in myself to complain too much about the relatively equal balance.

I’ve had more complex Lapsangs but I can’t off of the top of my head think of a sweeter one. And for a tea bag, this is rather impressive. In fact, I liked it so much that I used it to make a cheesecake (bacon cake!) for Thanksgiving. It was amazing! The sweetness of the tea worked well with the dessert aspects of the cheesecake and the smoky added a delightful hearty sophistication to it. I served the cake with cups of du Tigre and the pairing was wonderful, accenting the smokiness in the cheesecake and the sweetness in the tea. The cheesecake was so delicious; I would definitely be willing to repeat the experience. And even without the cheesecake, I’m enthusiastic about repeating this tea experience. I imagine I’ll buy this tea again (and again).

(And if anyone is interested in the recipe I used, here it is: http://pinkness.danzimmermann.com/2011/11/bacon-cake.html)

JacquelineM

Innovative and absolutely delicious looking cheesecake!

Ninavampi

I am definitely trying this at some point! : ) It sounds amazing! Congrats!

Angrboda

I agree, a smoky shouldn’t just be all prickles and nothing else. That’s the sort of thing that feels more like standing in a smokefilled room with a mouth full of water rather than having a cup of tea. There should, in my ideal smoky, be lots of smoke, but there should be depth to the cup as well. Any Lapsang that doesn’t have that underlying fruity sweet note could never be my perfect Lapsang.

And I can NOT wait to try the cheesecake! I’ve been lusting for it for days now since you posted it, but it’s the silliest thing holding me back at the moment. Haven’t got anything to make the thing IN! I may have to explore the cupboards and improvise… (what could go wrong? Oh wait… don’t answer that.)

Auggy

JacquelineM, I wish I could take the credit for the innovation but I just swapped the coffee in the cheesecake recipe for tea (and accidentally read the ingredients wrong and used too much water/tea – but it turned out so great I’m keeping the mistake in!) But it is totally delicious!

Ninavampi, Thank you! Successful cheesecake-making always tickles me! I’d love to hear how it goes for you when you decide to give it a go!

Angrboda, I think this tea could use a bit more smoke but I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice the sweetness to get it because you are right, that sweetness is such an important part to a quality smoky tea.

Also, if you don’t have a springform pan, Alton Brown says that you can use a normal 3" deep round pan lined in parchment paper. I haven’t tried it (yet) but there is a video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycxKlc4aYy0. Pan discussion starts at 3:30 and the pan prep info starts at about 4:30. Removing the cheesecake from the pan is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eldnGp4lbGU starting at 4:30. (By the way, his knife in hot water between each slice trick? Makes slicing so much easier! I love Alton Brown!)

Angrboda

The only round things I have that I can put in the oven is the pie dish, which wouldn’t do. It would be too flat and totally not the same thing. Height matters! :p I think I’ll either go an invest in something suitable or deal with the fact that it won’t be round, which really bothers me for some reason.

Auggy

Okay, that wouldn’t do it then! I am intrigued by the idea of a square cheesecake though but agree, it would be weird (for some reason).

Angrboda

It would be even weirder than a big flat one. Maybe I’ll just make a discreet purchase one of these days…

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JacquelineM

Innovative and absolutely delicious looking cheesecake!

Ninavampi

I am definitely trying this at some point! : ) It sounds amazing! Congrats!

Angrboda

I agree, a smoky shouldn’t just be all prickles and nothing else. That’s the sort of thing that feels more like standing in a smokefilled room with a mouth full of water rather than having a cup of tea. There should, in my ideal smoky, be lots of smoke, but there should be depth to the cup as well. Any Lapsang that doesn’t have that underlying fruity sweet note could never be my perfect Lapsang.

And I can NOT wait to try the cheesecake! I’ve been lusting for it for days now since you posted it, but it’s the silliest thing holding me back at the moment. Haven’t got anything to make the thing IN! I may have to explore the cupboards and improvise… (what could go wrong? Oh wait… don’t answer that.)

Auggy

JacquelineM, I wish I could take the credit for the innovation but I just swapped the coffee in the cheesecake recipe for tea (and accidentally read the ingredients wrong and used too much water/tea – but it turned out so great I’m keeping the mistake in!) But it is totally delicious!

Ninavampi, Thank you! Successful cheesecake-making always tickles me! I’d love to hear how it goes for you when you decide to give it a go!

Angrboda, I think this tea could use a bit more smoke but I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice the sweetness to get it because you are right, that sweetness is such an important part to a quality smoky tea.

Also, if you don’t have a springform pan, Alton Brown says that you can use a normal 3" deep round pan lined in parchment paper. I haven’t tried it (yet) but there is a video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycxKlc4aYy0. Pan discussion starts at 3:30 and the pan prep info starts at about 4:30. Removing the cheesecake from the pan is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eldnGp4lbGU starting at 4:30. (By the way, his knife in hot water between each slice trick? Makes slicing so much easier! I love Alton Brown!)

Angrboda

The only round things I have that I can put in the oven is the pie dish, which wouldn’t do. It would be too flat and totally not the same thing. Height matters! :p I think I’ll either go an invest in something suitable or deal with the fact that it won’t be round, which really bothers me for some reason.

Auggy

Okay, that wouldn’t do it then! I am intrigued by the idea of a square cheesecake though but agree, it would be weird (for some reason).

Angrboda

It would be even weirder than a big flat one. Maybe I’ll just make a discreet purchase one of these days…

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Bio

I’m trying to be a better tea logger and actually post semi-regularly again! I’ve let my tea tasting senses become too complacent – it’s time for some focused and attentive tea drinking!

Sometimes my notices for PMs and such have been questionable. Email me at your own risk at aug3zimm at gmail dot com.


1 – 10 – Bleck. Didn’t finish the cup.
11 – 25 – Drinkable. But don’t punish me by making me have it again.
26 – 40 – Meh. Most likely will see if the husband likes it iced.
41 – 60 – Okayish. Maybe one day I’ll kill off what I have in my pantry.
61 – 75 – Decent. I might pick some up if I needed tea.
76 – 85 – Nice. I’d probably buy but wouldn’t hunt it down.
86 – 100 – Yum! I will hunt down the vendor to get this tea!

Not that anyone but me particularly cares, but there it is.

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