Another sample from Auggy. I picked it today because she said she’s not really a fan, and because I’ve got a little bit of that heavy-head feeling that tells me I’m congested even though my nose isn’t actually stuffy, but there’s plenty of tea in the bag.
My first thought, smelling the brewed tea? ‘This is a Keemun?’ It smells a bit like an Assam, to me. Chalk it up to my inexperience with Keemun teas if you like, but it does. It’s malty and it smells a bit like oats to me, or bran, maybe…something that reminds me of the feed room and making bran mash for the horses we had when I was younger. There’s also a biscotti sort of smell, which is characteristic of my favorite Assams.
Fresh pine, eh? I dunno about that. There’s a tartness there somewhere that isn’t quite making it over the hummock of mere suggestion into actual tartness, and I guess one could interpret that as pine. To me, it is lacking something essential to ‘pine’, so I’m having a hard time making the connection.
Brown sugar is the only other note they mention up top. I can get it, but only in the way that I can get pine — it could be there, and actually if that’s true it seems to me that the pair of flavors are inextricably tangled up together, but those are not two things that I would come up with on my own, blind, without being asked. Blind, I would probably ask if this were a blend. A blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Keemun. It’s not punchy enough to be an Assam, it’s too bright; it’s not very much like other Keemuns that I’ve had, and it’s far too malty and dark in its flavors for a Ceylon, and yet I can see qualities of each of them here.
I keep coming back to that whole grain flavor I tasted at the beginning. It’s in the aroma more strongly than the flavor, deeply inhaling, but it’s quite prominent. I like it. Unfortunately it’s probably the only thing this tea really has going for it in the interest department, and the tartness — while it isn’t bad — isn’t contributing positively here, either. It’s a solid tea, but not something I really need to have, and definitely not the replacement for Mr. Muntz.