Auggy threw down the gauntlet and said to me, “Drink this tea!” She knows how I have a very finicky relationship with lapsang and Earl Grey. A marriage of two flavor profiles that if I had a choice to take it or leave it, I’d leave it. Could this tea that combines both potentially be my kyptonite?
Obviously from my rating, it isn’t. So I’m going to talk about it a bit.
Scarlet Sable is a pretty name, and this is a very pretty tea. Large, wiry black leaves, intermingled with bits of red rooibos. The entire concoction smells like lapsang spiked with lemon. It actually smells really good. But then again, I think that both lapsang and Earl Grey smell amazing. It’s the taste that always gets me.
So I steep this one up, getting more and more nervous the darker the tea becomes. I’m waiting for a potent brew that will knock me halfway across my house, singe my eyebrows off, and have me crawling to my computer to just log, “HALP.”
I take the first sniff. Lapsang, but it’s not very overpowering. That smokey barbecue sweet followed by a light lemon smell. Bright and dark at the same time, and very, very confusing. So I stuck my spoon into the tea (yes, I drink tea with a spoon), and took a big slurp.
That’s when the confusion really set in. At first we had a cedar-pine-smoke taste, that campfire smell that explodes on the tongue. But this quickly dissolves into bergamot. The more floral end of bergamot, but very light and bright and citrus-like. Towards the tail end of the flavor there’s a bit more lapsang, but it’s sweeter and mixed with a fruit-like note, and this gives way to more lemon-like bergamot…
I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it. Somehow the flavors merge, but they also cycle and battle each other in my mouth until I’m not really sure who wins. And somehow, this really bizarre concoction manages to taste better than both a typical Earl Grey and a typical lapsang! I think it’s because both flavors are so intense, that they cancel each other out, and create something that is far less aggressive. Instead of getting a full-brunt explosion of either lapsang or Earl Grey, they’re both muted by each other, and provide a much more satisfying cup. Dare I say that this one is actually… light at points? And entirely sippable? Yeah, I said it.
And in an odd way, it almost tastes like barbecued lemon chicken!
But you know what? It’s Samovar, and I’m starting to understand that Samovar = quality. takgoti sent me some of this to spread the Samovar gospel, and I think I’m going to be one of her disciples, cause this stuff is good. And there’s no way I should even remotely like this. So thanks, tak-tak, and thanks, Auggers, for goading me on to try this bizarre, but weirdly addictive, tea!