Seeing as the vanilla Nilgiri from Chi of Tea appears to be very out of stock, I’ve been forced to look for a replacement, just as I had decided it was my perfect vanilla tea.
First place to look is close to home obviously. After all, I might get lucky. So I got this one in my latest order.
Now, the Chi of Tea one had bits of vanilla pod in it, and I’ve been trying to see if this one does as well. The problem is, though, that the thing about vanilla pod bits is they are small, black and kinda glossy. And the thing about black tea leaves is they are small, black and kinda glossy. Which makes it kinda hard to tell.
The aroma of the leaves is strongly vanilla, though, and reminds me quite nicely of the Chi of Tea, so one is hopeful. Same with the post steeping aroma. It’s very sweet and thick and has a very pod-like quality to it.
There is, which I also mentioned something similar about on the Chi of Tea vanilla Nilgiri, a distinct difference between vanilla aroma and actual vanilla pods, which is that the aroma is sweet and vanilla-y, while the addition of the pod gives it a rougher sort of impression not unlike leather. Note, it doesn’t smell or taste of leather, but the pod itself is leather-y in texture and that texture somehow translates into flavour as intensity that is only rarely found in the absence of pod.
This particular vanilla black has that quality in the aroma. On the flavour, however, it’s a bit thin. Not at all what I would expect from a description like ‘creamy, bailey-like’. It’s not really that particularly creamy on the tongue. I can’t be certain about the bailey-like bit, as I’m not that fond of liqueurs and it’s been ages since I’ve had a bailey and there for don’t have a very clear memory of what it tastes like beyond the strong alcoholic feeling which I dislike and therefore clouds the memory further.
I do believe I can spot some of that pod-ness though, it’s just that I would have liked for there to be more of it. Thicker somehow. But it’s still closer to the Perfect Vanilla Nilgiri from Chi of Tea than the Whittard of Chelsea vanilla black is, the latter having a somewhat more synthetic feel to it.
For the time being this is close enough. I may move some of it to another tin and doctor it with a whole vanilla pod ala JacquelineM and see if that gives me the desired difference. I suspect though, that the root of my problem here lies in the fact that it doesn’t have the same tea base to start with. I can’t tell what this is, but I really don’t think it’s Nilgiri, and not just because A C Perch’s don’t sell Nilgiri plain. This base is a bit rougher and has a front note that reminds me primarily of Assam, a very different from Nilgiri type indeed.
As it is, I think it should work well enough as a substitute, but I’m not even remotely as happy with it as I have been with the Chi of Tea.