Le Palais des Thes
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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea #1 from Considering a new TTB
When I pulled this from the TTB I knew this was the tea I wanted to start with, I’ve been looking for a good Earl Grey Green and just so happen to love Mao Feng. I’m impressed with this tea, it manages to have the perfect balance of bergamot and green tea for my tastes. The bergamot is strong, but not overwhelming, letting the sweet grassy notes of the green base peak through. It’s a nice change of pace from the classic earl grey blends I typically enjoy.
This tea will not be continuing on.
Green Darjeeling. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.
I was given a sample of this tea when I was browsing trough tea collection of my local Palais des Thés shop. (Of course, I went there just to look but bought some Tie Guan Yin anyway). That was few days ago.
So today I was in the mood for something green and decided to try this one. Dry leaves had a lovely rich and somehow sweet aroma. They were also weirdly dark in color and had some hay straws here and there.
After steeping for little less than a minute in my lovely clay kyusu I poured myself a cup of beautifully yellow liquid with woody and slightly “toasted” aroma. Too bad that the taste was disappointing. It was slightly sweet at first, but then unusually bitter and mouth – drying. I thought I may have used too hot water, so with second infusion I was more careful. But the unpleasant itter taste didn’t go away. For the third infusion, I reduced the water temperature even more. And this time, it was much better. It was smoother, still slightly bitter, but much sweeter. Maybe I screwed up the first two steepings with too hot water.
All in all, I would say that this is an above average tea. Lovely aromas and appearance, but gets bitter quickly and leaves very little room for mistakes.
Flavors: Flowers, Nuts, Wood
There isn’t that much left of this. I will absolutely try to remember to try it iced before the rest of it disappears.
I was so sure I’d feel like putting together a huge Lupicia order for my birthday, since I’ll be in US next week anyway, but I haven’t felt the urge. It’s true I’ve been finishing up some of my favourites lately (Momoko just this morning! I still have some in the fridge, though.) but I still have so many good teas to choose from I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of urgency.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have shopping lists from Lupicia, Adagio, Le Palais des Thés, Comptoir des Thés et des Epices and Mariage Frères all put together, though.
No, that would be going a little far.
When I was in high school, I used to buy bags of tiny Italian hard candies in different fruit flavors—from Trader Joe’s, I think. Google tells me they’re called Puntini. Anyway, I haven’t seen or even thought about them in ages, but this tea tastes exactly the way I remember one of the berry flavors—probably blackberry, and the best one in my opinion—tasting.
The honey is quite prominent as well, and there’s a generic sort of floral undertone to it all that, as an unabashed floral lover, I’m enjoying quite a bit. I don’t get distinct lavender, which is just as well since that can easily veer into soap territory. The tea base (Ceylon, maybe?) comes through nicely despite the strong flavoring. There is a bit of astringency, which is fine by me.
I like this much more than I expected to, given my (admittedly few) past experiences with Palais des Thes—their teas have struck me as passable but lacklustre, with a bad case of the jumbled (or perhaps muddled would be a better descriptor?) flavor thing I just can’t get into with so many French teas. I’m sure the nostalgia blast isn’t hurting, but even aside from that this is a really lovely blend for those who like florals and don’t mind a bit of astringency. I bet it would also be great iced. Thanks for the sample, Dustin—I’m adding this one to my shopping list!
This poor tea – it’s been offered to guests on numerous occasions, and swapped, and I have snuck an un-Steepstered cup on occasion. There’s not that much left now, and this is only the second tasting note for it.
I’m so on the fence about Palais des Thés. I know they’re not even comparably as high quality as Mariage Frères. MF have such excellent base teas, and such exuberantly debauched flavour profiles that it’s not even a fair comparison.
But when I just want a simple, comforting cup, I admit I go with PdT more often. Because MF’s teas are demanding – all head games, smoke and mirrors. PdT’s teas, on the other hand, are simple, accessible, predictable.
And I just turned into Gone Girl’s Nick Dunne, didn’t I?
Reading PdT’s own description of this tea, it comes off as something very complex. It’s certainly very present scent wise – almost to a take-over-the-room level, but the suggested complexity is nowhere to be found.
I can’t really do my usual notes-of-this, or notes-of-that, because there’s just one main note – a somewhat flat, slightly smoky houjicha – that’s what the body of this tea amounts to for me. In the company’s flavour profile, this is described as something with a ‘medium length’ taste, and I feel I need to try a short length one – that would be a brief tongue tip taste experience, and then nothing else. This tea barely has any discernible aftertaste – all I get is a vaguely peppery note as I swallow.
This is ideal for someone looking for a very mellow roasty tea, whereas I tend to prefer the over-the-top roasty blends. Sorry, PdT, but this did nothing to convince me that all the criticism raised against your unflavoured teas is unjustified.
[Sample gifted by my sweet friend T, October 2013.]
On paper, this seems right up my alley. I remember smelling it in the Tel Aviv Palais des Thés last summer, too, and I liked it a lot. I know Palais get a lot of flak in terms of quality and pricing, but there’s something about their flavoured teas that really does it for me. They go down so smoothly, and they have this fresh, clean lightness to them that makes me think of the nights we spent watching the sea during that holiday we needed so badly.
Obviously, that’s my mnemonic illusion and no one else’s, but if my brain wants to play games with me and said games make me enjoy a tea others don’t – so be it. But don’t get any ideas, brain. I’m watching you.
There’s a very light kiwi here, and, I think, a bit of peach. Then there’s also the unmistakeable PdT vanilla, which has been growing on me ever so slowly. It’s not exuberant Lupicia vanilla, of course, but a very nice, subtle, warm vanilla.
I enjoy this tea very much, I want to buy it (Hey T. – heard you moved to Oslo, you know, where there IS A PdT STORE. Also I love you. Thanks. Kbye.) and keep it in my cupboard.
Thanks for sharing, KittyLovesTea!
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
This tea immediately grabbed my attention with its sweet and fruity aroma(I wish my shampoo smelled this good)! After bringing the water to 170F, steeping for 3 minutes, and inhaling the sugary steam, my taste buds were surprisingly quiet. The tea’s vibrant fragrance dimmed in the space between my nose and tongue. The flavor is exceptionally light and breezy. The fruity scent mixes with the grassy taste and the image of strawberries comes to mind.
At best, I find this tea calming. At worst, boring. I guess you have to be in the right mood to appreciate it. The weather is quite gloomy today in Northern Virginia, strawberries and grass actually seems quite pleasant.
At first when I opened the package and took a whiff, I thought “okay, another unremarkable refill for my dianghong gong fu tin”. I kinda chuckle thinking back to that first impression now.
This tea brews an impressively dark, bold, rich and full bodied liquor that is incredibly smooth and mellow. How smooth? Like a glass of warmed Remy Martin XO (not quite a Louis XIII), half-way through the swallowing process it actually vanishes from your mouth. Really that smooth and zero astringency, to the point where I felt like I was swallowing liquid aromatic air as it washed down the back of the mouth.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have strong flavor or aromas. No grass or straw, Palais des Thes says truffles, but I would characterize it more like cocoa-leather. Absolutely as smooth as can be, this is better than many jinya dianhongs I’ve tried before. This is something I will be restocking for sure.
Here’s the bonus. For a black tea it has incredible patience. The second western-style steeping was just as good, rich, and full bodied as the first, no joke. A third started to even reveal some toasted wood and apple tree bark, but I stopped there because I could feel some astringency appearing in the third infusion. If you like the apple/cider/woody side, I have found some short 45-60 second infusions with a higher leaf-water ratio works well to accentuate those, but I love the rich/dark/smooth brew so I just keep doing it that way.
Flavors: Cedar, Chocolate, Cocoa, Leather, Mushrooms, Tobacco, Wood
Sounded awesome, opened the tin expecting a blast of citrus aromas aaaaand……. nope. Their Thes des Lords EG has more citrus smell than this blend. Once brewed, the leaves oooze all sorts of bright citrus aromas, like a truck carrying lemons and grapefruits crashed into a lemon-zest factory, but the tea.. well.. not so much. Not much at all, really.
Funny thing, along with my order I got a few sample tea bags and one of the bags was this very tea. Opened it, and it had a bit stronger scent than the loose leaf in the tin did, but the brewed liquor was pretty much the same.
The saving grace of this tea, and main reason it doesn’t get 21-40 range score, is that YES there is a bit of citrus in there, but the russian blend of blacks is actually quite nice and smooth, and makes an excellent pairing with other teas in blends, especially where a touch of citrus won’t hurt.
Completely misses one target but scores enough points on a completely different one accidentally. Enough so that I might consider ordering a refill pouch eventually if I don’t find better partners for a few blends I’m trying to perfect.
First infusion: Very rich and mellow aroma and taste, coats your mouth. Well balanced. Woody, smoky and toasty, with a very faint hint of berries. Second infusion much like the first, although the acidity of the toasted wood begins taking on more steamed kale or roasted greens. Floral notes become noticable. Upon further infusions, the toasted wood begins fading as the floral/berry notes become more prominent and the liquor becomes sweeter/milder. This probably could have gone much more than the 6 infusions I put it through, but keep in mind I rarely make it past 5 with any tea just because I run out of time or move on to something entirely different.
Looking forward to brewing this in multiple styles, I think it will offer up a lot of characteristics to discover.
Flavors: Flowers, Honeydew, Kale, Mineral, Wood
I bought this tea a couple of hours ago. I was on my way to the apartment when I passed the Le Palais des Thés on Hedgehaugveien in Oslo. I haven’t been there for a couple of month, but it is a nice little shop with a several mix of Le Palais des Thés products and tastes. Today it was Fleur de Geisha that caught me. The intense scent of cherry, reminded me so much of my own childhood and the nordic summers that I couldn’t resist buying it. When I got home I made myself a cup, excited to try it. While the water got heated I took a long breath to really feel the scent flying through me. Still it was the cherry that caught me and something else, a grassy after-scent which was strong and a bit bittersweet.
This time I took two teaspones and let it steep for 3,5 minutes in 90 degrees. On the package it says 70 C, but I always try it almost boiled the first time, especially during winter when it’s cold outside. Even if I steeped it warmer than they recommend the cherry flavour is sharp and dominante. I love the intensity in this tea and for someone that loves cherry I think this one is worth a try.
After the first try I like it. It’s not in the top 20, but still really good and tasty. Looking forward to try it again.
Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers
Interesting, very interesting. This tea is super fruity floral but, more floral than fruit. It has similarities to the Le Palais’s Geisha tea. There is a slight tangy freshness that is fresh rose petal like. Also rose like is the way it leaves my mouth dry. It is a nice tea if you like floral, but I wouldn’t choose it over the Geisha.I do wish Le Palais sold sample sizes. It is really hard to commit to buying such large quantities based only on description of scent. Even in their store where they have tins of the teas sold bulk they won’t let you buy small quantities to try. Lucky for me I didn’t have to buy a huge bag to try this particular tea, I got a sample from Moraiwe!
Literally a zombie right now.
Midterms are killing me. Three in one week? Really? Did all my professors get together to decide and make sure that I would have to take all the important midterms within two days of each other? Bleeehhh
Well thank you shmiracles for sending this tea my way! Looove vanilla so much! This tea definitely has vanilla in it and it makes me so so happy. The tea smells sweet and nice as it brews. Ohh is that a legit bit of a vanilla bean in this tea!? Tasting it, it’s nothing super special. Just a simple green tea with vanilla :) Reminds me a lot of Bilbo Brew, without all the cinnamon and sweet potato