This tea is seriously insane on the membrane, y0. My taste buds and mind are having a difficult time keeping up.
First off, in the bag, this one smells So. Good. Neither the gunpowder nor the black tea really stand out in the aroma, but the vanilla and the mint… they create this dual symphony of sweet and fresh. My nose could detect the warmth of the vanilla, mixed with the menthol-cool of the mint. I couldn’t stop sniffing it. Seriously amazing.
The leaves are pretty damned gorgeous, too. Wiry blacks and stick-like-chocolate-colored vanilla blended against vibrant peppermint leaves and rolled blue-green gunpowder. If I was an interior designer on HGTV, I could see using a similar color palette for a room. Do not go out and do this. I potentially have no taste in design.
Golden Moon suggests doing this one up at boiling, but I thought potentially that’d be a bad idea. Gunpowder’s a pretty hardy green, but it’s still a green tea, and I didn’t want to scortch the leaves. At the same time, I didn’t want the black tea taste to suffer from sub-par temperature. I decided to hit a middle ground of 190, and watched the dance. There was a lot going on in the pot. The gunpowder was popping and unfurling, the peppermint was pretending it was in a snowglobe, and the black tea un-wired itself. Very neat.
The infusion on this one smells more vanilla than mint, with a cool feeling to the nostrils like you’ve inhaled the polar icecaps. I love the smell of mint.
Anyway, on the taste, my mouth nearly went
SYSTEM INOPERATIVE and shut down. Overload. Seriously. I don’t even know where to start. GM is pretty smart, because I think they just took their Madagascar Vanilla and then mixed it with Moroccan Mint. And somehow created a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The first taste you get is a bit of peppermint herbal-ness, followed by a mix of malty-cocoa-black and the faintest wisp of a gunpowder-like smokiness. If any flavor component comes across the least, it’s the gunpowder. Which I wasn’t surprised about at all, considering the robustness of the other components. This gives way to a very sweet vanilla component, that quickly becomes overrun by peppermint freshness. It finishes with vanilla, and the menthol-effects of the mint. There’s a green-like gunpowder aftertaste too.
I don’t even know if that all makes sense, but that’s how it is. It’s like this grab bag of tea, but you don’t need to work hard to taste all of the flavors. It’s not subtle in the least. But it’s all very smooth with barely any astringency at all, and while the tea teeters on the edge of being muddled and confusing, it manages to stay on the right side of goodness.
I seriously like this one better than both the Moroccan Mint and the Madagascar Vanilla, since the combination seems to cancel out the shortcomings of the both of them. The vanilla is no longer heavy and artificial when the mint comes in, and the gunpowder is softened by the vanilla. Really interesting overall, and sorry if this review was rambling! Cause this tea rambled all over the place.