Well I just got in from out of town and I have been inundated with tea! Samples from Teavivre and Fong Mong, and my order from Verdant. I didn’t really know where to start. I did order the Golden Fleece from Verdant but I didn’t want to dive into that one just yet. I decided I wanted to go for a black tea, western steep, from Verdant, and I chose this one. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been getting into Chinese black teas lately, so I was already intrigued by this tea. Then I also read about it’s namesake and I can’t resist a dagger-wielding warrior woman, so that clinched the order.
The dry leaves are very nice looking, dark with golden streaks, spindley and curly. I can’t smell the dry leaf too well but what I do get smells nice grainy and malty. I steeped exactly according to the instructions on the website for this tea (western style). It smells heavenly. Dark chocolate, molasses, grains, malt, and there’s almost a spiciness that tingles in your nostrils when you take a deep sniff, like sniffing cayenne pepper.
The first part of the sip is sweet, almost honeyed, with chocolate notes that kind of shift from a sweeter chocolate at the beginning to a much darker chocolate toward the end. The flavors that build in the latter part of the sip are rougher, less refined than the first flavors. These are a little bit of wood, a little bit of smoke even that tingles in my mouth. Not smoky even like a keemun is smoky, but more the faintest whisp of smoke or maybe like the woody notes are a little charred. As it cools those flavors toward the end of the sip become stronger, making the whole thing a little prickly in the mouthfeel.
I enjoy this tea a lot, but I have a feeling I will enjoy the other black teas I bought from Verdant more. We shall see! It has a rough quality about it that I’ve found in other fine black teas; it doesn’t really keep me from enjoying the tea, but it’s not my favorite character in black teas, at least at this point.