Here it is, my final French tea. Even though I wish I could have brought home 10x more than I did, I’ve been very (very!) satisfied with my choices. This tea sounded awesome to me: jasmine, rose, bergamot and vanilla? Yum. I’m not sure how all that has anything to do with Tibet, but I’ll take it anyway.
I have to say, the dry leaf on this tea smells amazing. The citrusy bergamot and creamy vanilla are the primary notes and give it the hint of an Earl Grey cream, but the floral jasmine adds it’s note to that and I think detect a sweetness of the rose. It smells at once floral and citrusy and creamy. The dry leaf is all tea (no additions that I can see), with some rather large non-black tea looking leaves in it. Mariage Freres’ website says this is just a black tea (in both French and English!), but after steeping: no way. There are definitely green tea leaves in my steeping basket mixed in with the black. Which means I would have steeped it below boiling had I known that, but oh well.
The liquor is a medium reddish amber and it’s become more floral in aroma, though there’s no hiding that creamy vanilla note. The taste has a floral beginning (rose, some jasmine, general “florals”), and I think the bergamot comes out in the later part of the sip, but to be perfectly honest I’m having a tough time accurately parsing it from all the other flavors. The tea is ever so slightly bitter, maybe from the bergamot, maybe from a too-hot steep temp for the (unexpected) green tea. Underlying everything is a wonderful creamy vanilla flavor that just smooths all the flavors out and ties them together. As it cools I the bergamot asserts itself some more and it reminds me again of an Earl Grey creme, but while the floral notes aren’t incredibly distinct in their own right at this point, they definitely add to the overall flavor. In fact, now they seem to have shifted more to the tail end/aftertaste of the sip.
I really want to try this one at a cooler steeping temp to see how it turns out now that I know that it’s got green in it! Still very tasty even so.