Le Palais des Thes
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Recent Tasting Notes
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
Full disclosure: I don’t like the taste of rooibos. And even though this tea contains no rooibos, to me it tasted as though rooibos was the base. Therefore, I did not care for it at all. I’m not saying it’s a bad tea, just giving a warning to the other rooibos-haters out there.
From the poor neglectede queue! I’d just nearly learned the habit of keeping and posting from the queue regularly, and then Christmas and moving happened. So it’s time to get back in the swing!
Here’s another one out of the EU Travelling Teabox. It took a little detective work to find out what exactly it was, but I asked Google and eventually learned that this is a Sri Lankan black from the Uva district, Saint James being the name of the tea estate/factory. At least I found a tea factory by the name of Saint James in Sri Lanka so I’m going to assume it’s the same place.
If I am correct in my aforementioned assumption then this is a high grown tea, which fits well with the very floral aroma of it. The more high grown a tea is, the more floral it will smell/taste in my experience. There is also a malty and slightly woody note underneath the floral aspect, but it feels like it really is struggling to get through all the floralness.
The first sip reminded me strongly of something but it was so fleeting that I can’t put my finger on what that something was at all. I think it was some sort of food. It was there again on the second sip, but less fleeting and I know what it was now. Persimmons. I’ve never tasted that in a tea before, but that’s exactly what it reminded me of. Possibly because I bought some last week and have been enjoying them. It’s been a long time since I last had persimmons, so I’m extra-aware of their flavour right now. There are other fruits involved here. I’m thinking mainly of things like grapes and possibly plums, but for me it’s large just persimmons.
When I first saw that this was a high grown tea I was instantly worried about the floral aspect, especially what with how floral the aroma was, but I needed not fear. The floral notes, while very much present, are actually quite controlled and there’s no hint of that slightly sour grassy note that I also tend to associate somewhat with high grown. Darjeeling tend to have that note in spades, and I’ve noticed it in many of the high grown Ceylons I’ve tried as well. This makes me wonder if this particular tea is actually closer to mid-elevation than I thought. In my book it would only be a plus if it were.
I found a small amount of malt and sort of brown sugar-y notes at the very bottom of it, but they were really not coming through much at all, so it was mostly the fruity notes with a highlight of floral for me.
This is actually a pretty good tea, and I hope whoever tries it next will enjoy it as well. I will let it remain a ‘try’ rather than a ‘take’, though. Unless I find it difficult to control myself when adding things from my shelves to the box. I was considering earlier what I could put in and it became clear that I would have to either take some more things out of the box or resist sharing some of my things. As I would prefer to share… I shall have to drink some more ‘tries’. :)
(Husband says it reminds him of tomato soup… I don’t know, guys. I really don’t know.)
I’ve been ridiculously busy – lousy timing, since I have samples from the ever-amazing Ysaurella that I want to try and write elaborate tasting notes for, but, alas, no such luck.
Okay, so looking back at the previous notes for this, I’ve really fiddled about with the rating. And it’s seemingly a never-ending story, because I’m going to nudge it back up to 90. I love this tea, and until I find a better pear tea (if ever) I want to keep it around.
The leaf is beautiful, the tea itself is fresh and clean and natural-tasting, and I enjoy it very much.
So much, in fact, that this tasting note will have to cover the four cups I’ve had over the course of the past two days.
unadorned, this is the color of honey, straight up honey. almost can’t believe this is a black tea! the flavor is also as delicate & so lightly spiced, anyone remotely afraid of the word ‘spice’ could try this. when i add a few teaspoons of brown sugar to draw out the flavor, the brew turns a lovely amber resin.
no idea what the black tea base is, it’s so faint! but i enjoy this greatly. yes the cinnamon is present but not overwhelming, and that’s a refreshing discovery. where is the tea hiding? this almost feels like a tisane with a few tea leaves thrown in for good measure. regardless, it’s a nice change of pace from stronger, more readily astringent black teas.
had no idea of the apple in this until i read the notes. although i do believe it’s in here somewhere, as there is a light fruitiness imparted by something. at first i thought bergamot, as this reminded me quite simply of a nondescript breakfast tea with a twist of lemon. the apple comes, perhaps at the end of the sip, if at all. there again, a case of looking for something that doesn’t seem quite there. but i appreciate the fruity quality wholeheartedly, as this seems to me the silhouette of a robust earl grey, albeit lightly infused with spices reminiscent of chai.
do i sense the almond? perhaps…i have to meditate on it, or still my senses so as to perceive it, and that’s okay. i definitely pick up on the ginger, but it is also slight. it balances out the cinnamon nicely, though. cinnamon-ginger is always a good combination i think, certainly the cornerstone of a good chai & though this is not that, i’d go so far as to recommend thé des amants as an entrée to anyone who is chai-curious, or for those who have sworn off black tea altogether on account of its alleged intensity.
i’m really tempted to say this reminds me of hot iced tea! it has an ‘iced tea’ quality right off the bat; a very familiar flavor that is tenderly nuanced.
overall, this is romantic, comforting, perfect for lovers, or anyone seeking solace by the fireside.