I was so afraid that brewing this was going to make my house smell like cigarette ashes. I don’t smoke. I can’t stand the smell of it. More than that, I’m actually allergic to nicotine, so it weirds me out on a totally different level than I think just finding the smell unpleasant would weird me out. Thank HEAVENS that isn’t what this brewing produced. To me, this is campfire. Campfire and the pungent, tart scent and flavor of pine sap. I don’t have any trouble whatsoever locating the pine in this, which is…really quite the unusual sensory experience. It’s a completely independent flavor from the smoke. I can even taste the tea after I swallow each sip.
This is another one of those teas that brings to mind instantaneous memories for me, all of them connected to cabins and wood stoves, most of these enjoyed alongside a feeling of utter boneless exhaustion at the tail end of long day of snowboarding. It makes me think offhandedly of the trips I took to Mesa Verde when I was living in Colorado; some of the old Anasazi cliff-dwelling areas still have fire pits that seem as though they’re going to be stained forever with this sort of scent, where the red rocks have been blackened for all time.
I didn’t expect to like this, but I hoped that I would. I definitely do. I don’t know how much of it I would find myself wanting, but I could easily see myself adding this to my order. It’s so…cozy. So curl-up-on-a-futon-in-front-of-a-fire cozy.
Now that I’m getting halfway through the mug and it’s cooling slightly, it’s becoming surprisingly sweet on the finish! I really didn’t expect that. I thought I was going to have to add milk and sugar to this at the very least, and I haven’t added either, because I’ve been too interested in the flavors to risk covering them up. That’s a good sign.
Yeah. Yummy. Quite believably not for everyone, but I think most tea-ites recognize that lapsang souchong is a love it or hate it affair. I can’t even say that I like it broadly yet; for all I know I might just like this one…but I do like this one. Hallelujah.