Bring on the carcinogens!
I love smoky tea. I really do. I love its moodiness and atmosphere.
When Auggy — through whose generosity I’m able to have this tea today — mentioned that she thought she might’ve zealously overpacked the tea in an effort to keep everything from smelling like Bohea, I was surprised; the only Bohea I have in my cabinet is certainly a very mildly smoky tea. I would debate its ability to contaminate other leaves too badly. Since I’d only just had my Bohea yesterday, I thought this would be a good place to start, since I’d be fresh for comparing the two.
I unwrapped the foil packet enclosing the plastic baggie and was hit with a wave of that familiar lapsang scent. The smell is quite strong! Not daunting for me, because…well, I love lapsang — as long as it avoids becoming acrid and tarry.
This one assuredly does. Freshly steeped, you can tell that the tea will be more mild than the scent of the dry leaves might suggest, but the tea doesn’t get ‘watery’ underneath the smoke, which is lovely. It brewed to a pretty golden-amber color. There is no astringency, but the tea feels rich and a little bit sweet when it sits on your tongue. After you swallow, the richness comes forward with the definite taste of wood — I assume that this is the oak mentioned in the description, as it’s more shadowy and less sap-like than some of the distinctly pine-like lapsangs I’ve tasted previously. It reminds me very much of visits to various reenactment villages along the New England coast on summer vacations with my family — Williamsburg particularly. There is something of the antique Colonial kitchen to the taste and the smell that makes me crave cured ham and apple cider.
Unrelated note, I think my ratings need overhauling again. Alas!
Also: I think I may have missed several HUNDRED tasting notes since my stepsis and mom came up to visit me a week ago. I will try to go through them, but am bound to miss a few. Apologies in advance!