Well, this is actually the last of the teas I brought back from Europe that I have yet to sample. I want to love Rose Earl Greys because I love both flavors, but I haven’t quite found one for me yet (admittedly I haven’t tried many!). I admit I’m a little worried about this one potentially having the same black tea base that I disliked on Tea Palace’s Earl Grey St Clements, but we’ll see. It certainly smells amazing dried: bright and citrusy bergamot, slightly sweet, with the floral rose undertones. The mix has lots of rose petals, some partial buds, and also bits of citrus peel in it.
Moment of truth (when it comes to the aroma at least, since I can usually tell if the black tea contains whatever mystery black I dislike)… not what I expected, but not bad either. The black tea base is what I smell here, with perhaps a hint of rose, but the bergamot has gotten lost. This isn’t the English Breakfast black tea base that the St Clements had, though, this is warmer, with spicy notes, perhaps with a bit of roasted grains. I’m still wary, but only a taste will tell.
Not bad. Not my favorite cup of tea, but certainly drinkable, and likely enjoyed by someone for more of a taste for unflavored black tea than me. I’m not really getting any bergamot or Earl Grey flavor at all, just a light, herby rose at the end of the sip and in the aftertaste. The primary flavors are from the black tea (origin unknown, unfortunately): a bit of pepper, some bright note, a roasted flavor, and a rather prickly mouthfeel. I’m afraid I’m pretty terrible at separating out all the myriad of notes that many people get out of a black tea, so sorry for the paltry description.
So I think I can pretty safely say that Tea Palace’s Earl Greys aren’t for me. At least I was able to get samples of them instead of buying more on aroma of the dry leaf alone (I’m really not sure how that strong of a bergamot aroma can just completely disappear, but it does).