My first real tea in three days! (Because I accidentally poisoned myself with something and have been dealing with a super-sensitive stomach that couldn’t handle more than ginger ale and white tea.) This might not be the best return-to-tea choice but I’m sharing with the husband and he’s a big EG fan, so I felt we needed to give this one a shot.
The dry leaf smells a bit perfume-y and spicy. Perhaps like a spicy perfume? It’s rather strong. I must fight the urge to sneeze. But, as I’m learning, ATR tea post-steeping tends to be much mellower and more balanced than the smell of the dry leaf.
The liquor smells quite a bit like Romanoff – elegantly orange, but stronger. As for the taste… For being steeped for five minutes, this is remarkably smooth. It is a bit overwhelming in the Earl department, though. Earl Grey flavoring runs such a range, from spicy bergamot to perfumed bergamot. I tend to like the former – peel and pith type tastes – more, but this seems to be in the later category. It’s a bit like eating flowers at times.
The tea base, though, is quite lovely. Not the star of the show, by any means, and I kind of wish it was. It’s nice – smooth, a bit earthy, soft, with a full mouthfeel… but dressed in many layers of bergamot perfumed flowers. I think it deserves a tad more than to be tarted up like an Earl Grey floozy. A hint more screen time would be nice.
Some sips aren’t as perfumed and the tea just tastes sweet with a tiny squidge of spicy. I like those sips. And I seem to be coming into more of them as the tea cools. Or maybe my tastebuds have been coated so that they don’t recognize the perfume anymore, just the other flavors? These sips almost feel silky and that’s fun.
I’m a bit torn on this one. I think it’s well done in a way – easy to drink straight (no additives) and there’s no harshness to it. But it’s a bit too floral for my tastes and so seems to be a bit out of balance, at least in comparison to the other ATR teas I’ve had so far. If the EG were taken down a notch or the tea-base ratcheted up two notches, this could make me much happier.
That being said, the husband (who is this house’s EG fan) gave this 4/5 stars and said the bergamot was nicely balanced. So perhaps if you are like the husband and find most Earl Greys don’t deliver on the Earl or require milk and/or sugar to smooth them out, this one might be up your alley. Lots of Earl, no sugar required!