Harney & Sons Tower of London Blend comes in the gorgeous Historic Royal Palace tin, this one in purple. Irresistibly beautiful! But how is the tea?
I was initially surprised upon finding that the scent of the dried tea in the sachets smells incredibly similar to Paris. For that reason, a steep-off was de rigueur!!!!! Here’s what I found:
Both are slightly fruity blends, and both contain bergamot. So both are veering toward Earl Grey territory. However, Paris boasts vanilla, while Tower of London boasts honey. I have to say that the honey taste is incredibly subtle in this blend and while I believe that I can sniff it off the surface of the dark golden orangish-brown liquor, I am not at all sure that I taste it amidst the fruity-black blend.
As usual, I drank these teas (both fruity black blends with bergamot) with light cream, because that’s how I take my Earl Grey, and these are at least second cousins. The Tower of London Blend is good, but the Paris is somewhat creamier and smoother. It seems that the vanilla flavor is marginally stronger in the latter blend than the honey flavor is in the former. Are there other differences? Honestly, I have found it challenging to try to figure out what they might be.
The black tea in the Tower of London Blend appears to be slightly less dark, but I also noticed that the sachets contained different amounts of tea (there was quite a bit more in the Paris), so the lighter shade could actually be due to a weaker brew produced by fewer leaves of the same black tea base. Not sure.
I drank Paris and Tower of London in the sachet formats side-by-side twice this afternoon, and both times I concluded that the Paris is slightly better. But it’s an extremely close contest, so close, in fact, that I now believe that anyone who likes Paris is going to like Tower of London, and anyone who likes Tower of London is going to like Paris. Both are much lighter on the bergamot than any Earl Grey, so they may appeal both to Earl Grey lovers and Earl Grey detractors for that reason!
I like this tea and am happy to have another 28 sachets to brew up and sip, though I do seem to like Paris slightly more…