My nose acknowledges four classes of rose: the flower, the perfume, the essence (as in rose water), and the soap/lotion. We use a lot of rose essence/rose water in our cooking in India, so I’m most familiar with the variety of tastes created by adding that to a beverage or dish. As well, when I was little I used to munch on rose petals. I like rose. A lot.
I was very happy with the fragrance of the dry leaves. Of the four recognised classes, this tea fell squarely in the “flower” one: the fragrance was fresh, pure, not artificial. Not even remotely subtle, and really lovely. The wet leaves and the steeped tea didn’t smell as strongly like a fresh flower, which was good, because it let the black tea come through a little more.
The flavour is where things just went all pear-shaped. The flavour, my friends, is neither essence nor flower, but lotion. Lotion! It’s wrong. So, so, wrong. To make matters worse, my first sip of the unsweetened tea hit the back of my throat with a distinct bitterness, which immediately shattered my resolve to wean myself off sugar/sweeteners in my tea. Straightaway, I added some sugar.
So now I’m drinking non-bitter rose lotion. Because I like rose so much, I’m reluctant to dump the tea, so it’s sitting here, and every so often I forget how disappointed I am and reach for another sip or two. What I’m finding is that as it sits (it’s just sitting, not really cooling, thanks to my super duper mug), the flavour is transitioning from lotion to flower, more like what I expected when I first cut open the packet.
In the end, I’m glad that I didn’t pour the tea down the drain. I still feel that there is a slightly lotion-y aftertaste, but to be fair, it is possible that this is mostly psychological. I’ll be okay getting through this mug, but unfortunately this isn’t a tea I’ll be stocking in the future. That said, I’d now really like to find a bold, rose tea that I would like to keep stocked. I tried a white rose that I really liked, but it was subtle. I’d like something more like this, with a nice, bold flavour, but with a rose infusion that’s more to my liking. I’ll keep trying, I’m sure I’ll find something. =)