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I was apprehensive about this tea because the dry leaf smells dreadful. I read somewhere that the leaves are sometimes smoked over pine tar rather than pine wood, and I wonder if that’s the case for this one, because it smells like pine tar. With heavy emphasis on the tar, and not much on the pine.

That said, most lapsang souchongs taste better than they smell, in my opinion, so I forged ahead.

When I first sipped it, I didn’t like it, though it definitely tasted better than it smelled. Now that it’s cooled a bit, it tastes nicer, sweeter and more mellow. There’s still a faint note of something that just doesn’t appeal to me though.

I have a feeling that this tea might just be too authentic for my sheltered American tastes. I’ve never really been into lapsang souchongs, but of those I’ve tried, I liked David’s the best. It was recognizably smoky, but still on the mild side.

Flavors: Smoke, Tar

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
caile

Another smokey one! I still have half my sample I’m saving to try again, but it isn’t something I think I’d have very often, although I did enjoy drinking it. I remember though that the aroma of it stayed with me all day!

donkeytiara

I agree with the sheltered American tastebuds vs smoky tea. I live in the southern California wildfire area, and now smoky teas remind me of evacuating my home, so I steer clear of them….for now!

Tamarindel

Yes, I’m getting near the end of my first round of tea sampler packets, and it’s no coincidence that the smoky teas got shoved till last. I only drink them when I’m feeling daring. I guess I’m just fussy about smoke flavor. I WANT to like it, because it’s so interesting and nuanced. And as we discussed, personal tastes do change from day to day. But at heart, I’m a peaches and cream kind of girl, so something this strong is way outside my comfort zone.

Tamarindel

Sorry, donkeytiara, I just now saw your comment. Just watching them on tv, those southern California fires look terrifying. I hope they’re not as bad down there this year! Now that you mention it, I wonder if I too haven’t been affected by bad experiences with smoke. I’m staying in Idaho at the moment, and though I’ve never been in danger from the fire, both the forest service and the farmers have these controlled burns all through the summer that really pollute the air. I cringe now whenever I smell smoke.

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caile

Another smokey one! I still have half my sample I’m saving to try again, but it isn’t something I think I’d have very often, although I did enjoy drinking it. I remember though that the aroma of it stayed with me all day!

donkeytiara

I agree with the sheltered American tastebuds vs smoky tea. I live in the southern California wildfire area, and now smoky teas remind me of evacuating my home, so I steer clear of them….for now!

Tamarindel

Yes, I’m getting near the end of my first round of tea sampler packets, and it’s no coincidence that the smoky teas got shoved till last. I only drink them when I’m feeling daring. I guess I’m just fussy about smoke flavor. I WANT to like it, because it’s so interesting and nuanced. And as we discussed, personal tastes do change from day to day. But at heart, I’m a peaches and cream kind of girl, so something this strong is way outside my comfort zone.

Tamarindel

Sorry, donkeytiara, I just now saw your comment. Just watching them on tv, those southern California fires look terrifying. I hope they’re not as bad down there this year! Now that you mention it, I wonder if I too haven’t been affected by bad experiences with smoke. I’m staying in Idaho at the moment, and though I’ve never been in danger from the fire, both the forest service and the farmers have these controlled burns all through the summer that really pollute the air. I cringe now whenever I smell smoke.

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Happiness Is:
green tea
black tea
white tea if it’s heavily dosed with peaches
oolong? I’m starting to think oolong is the best of both worlds — I haven’t had many yet, but those I’ve tried have been divine.
fruit!
vanilla things
lots of mint!

Not Really My Style:
spices (except for ginger. ginger rocks)
chai (because, you know, the spices)
rooibos (I don’t get it. Everyone seems psyched for it. Not me).
those smoky teas, like lapsang souchong, though once in a while I’ll need something really strong and then I like them.

Bergamot.
Bergamot lives in a weird little category of its own. Sometimes it’s very good. Sometimes it’s very bad. I don’t know why my feelings toward it are always in flux, though the brand is a factor to some extent. Tea companies seem to have vastly different opinions about how to make earl grey.

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