26 Tasting Notes
Big thanks to the lovely Darby for this – since Adagio’s international shipping costs are ludicrous, a swap was the only way for me to try their stuff.
I seem to be in the minority, but I really like this, and this is surprising for me seeing as I don’t like chocolate.
You would NOT believe the kind of abuse I get for saying that I don’t like chocolate. Good lord. ‘Oh my god that can’t be true/you’re lying/How is that possible?/Do you mean, ever?/That’s because you haven’t tried the RIGHT one yet!/Are you sure/You’ll change your mind/More for me!/I’m not speaking to you again/We can’t be friends anymore/So, what do you eat then?/But, do you go out and stuff?/Oh my god do you watch TV?
I wish I were joking. I don’t like chocolate. Do you like oysters? I could live on them. There’s no accounting for taste. Now leave me alone.
This is great because the chocolate is really there to smell more so than to taste. It makes the chai a little bit more bitter than what I’m used to but it’s not a bad thing at all. The base isn’t the strongest and frankly isn’t spicy at all, it’s a mellow chai with just a hint of a woody feel because of the chocolate. I’m really enjoying my cup.
It took me a while to review Pleine Lune because it’s my favourite tea. I can’t get enough of it. Some bestsellers I’m flabbergasted are even appreciated but this deserves all the praise and then some.
And I already know I can’t do it any justice but let’s try and convey ALL THE FEELINGS.
It’s a beautiful tea to look at (cornflower in tea really is my weakness), smell and drink. It reminds me rather foolishly of an impressionist painting – it’s a striking landscape full of colourful pieces which, when put together, magically become greater than the sum of their parts. There are no harsh lines in Pleine Lune, the blending is perfection so that you don’t know when one flavour ends and another begins.
I would describe it as an almond flowery tea, and this is one of the few teas that tastes exactly as good and strong at it smells, which is complex (it’s an unusual combination), grown-up (the flowers, surely) and nostalgic (I blame the sweet almond oil my mother used to wash my hair with when I was a wee child).
Pleine Lune, to me, is what tea is about. You can’t get this sort of fantastic aroma of such different food categories as nuts and flowers from any other beverage. And the comfort that comes attached to a mug full of hot Pleine Lune with just a drop of milk and honey is unparalleled.
I credit this for getting me through the year. I know that whatever happens during the day, I’ll at least be able to truly enjoy something in it. I always allow guests to choose which tea they’d like to drink from my stash when I offer hot beverages and everyone’s always picked Pleine Lune; and for some reason every time someone smells it for the first time, it always reminds them of a memory long forgotten. Pleine Lune, it seems, is a lot of people’s madeleine.
I love this so much.
I’m such a fool! See, I placed an order with Mariage Freres recently. I ordered two of my staples (which I’ll be reviewing next) in huge quantities and then I figured I might as well throw in 100g of a new-to-me tea. I saw Marco Polo, remembered that it was MF’s most famous blend and that it got a good rating on Steepster and I was sold.
Ruby – when will you learn to look at the description first? I can be so completely stupid sometimes. I like spicy, nutty black teas. I hate fruity teas with a passion. This is a sweet, strawberry cake tea. If you know me at all, you know that’s when the tiniest violin comes in. I detest berries in any form except their original form. I hate them in yoghurt, in tea, in juice. Love them whole, though.
I won’t be rating this because it’s entirely my mistake. If a strawberry cake appeals to you, this would probably be heaven. It’s very flavoured, as are all Mariage Freres teas. As it is, I’m stuck with my 100g which I drink when I need to focus on something entirely different, like marking papers or watching a film.
Oh, Marco Polo, if only I knew then what I know now! bursts into tears
The description for this tea is absolutely spot-on. This is what liquid cayenne pepper tastes like. It’s comfortable only thanks to the cinnamon, otherwise it’s pure fire. I appreciated the fact that even though it does burn you, the burn only lingers on your tongue, not in your throat, which makes it not quite evil and unpalatable. I received a sample of this, I won’t be purchasing a full bag but it was interesting while it lasted.
I went to a Mariage Freres shop a few months ago and asked them if they had anything that might encompass all the flavours of Christmas. The shop assistant was lovely and offered two blends – Esprit de Noel and, after hesitating a bit, Chandernagor. I smelled both and went for Esprit de Noel, which has orange and is smoother than Chandernagor. I didn’t end up buying Chandernagor but I found the smell impossible to forget even long after. Fast forward to now. I wanted a tea that wasn’t an indulgence for once, a tea that would wake me up in the morning and make me instantly alert and ready to face the day. That’s when I remembered Chandernagor.
It’s a very peppery blend, by which I mean that it will tickle your taste buds and focus your mind. You can’t ignore this tea. You can’t take sips while working or thinking about your next meal. It draws you in. Chandernagor tastes as good as it smells, which is strong and interesting. I taste cloves (so divine, wow), black pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, in that order. It’s a rich tea that I prefer to drink really hot, the very nature of it just calls for a high temperature – I suspect it’ll burn you in iced form anyway.
4 minutes with milk and stevia works best for me.
Sorry to contradict Melissa (see her review above) but this blend can be bought both with a black tea base and a rooibos base. I went for the rooibos version as I could tell this would be an afternoon tea for me and the less cafeine after noon, the better in my case.
It smells wonderful – it’s very sweet. I was disappointed with the taste as I think it’s lacking in complexity. Once you’ve hit the vanilla and the ‘candied’ part of ‘candied chestnut’, it’s all over. Needless to say the chestnut is lost in this sweet fest. It’s a shame, I was really expecting a lot from this blend but I’m guessing I’d get about the same taste with a mixture of vanilla, sugar and a touch of caramel. I’m finishing this but I won’t be repurchasing.
5 minutes with milk works best for me.