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Black Tea
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Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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6 Tasting Notes View all

From Le Palais des Thes

Thé du Tigre is a delicious smoked tea from Taiwan. The leaf quality is superb and the smoking process is carried out in the traditional manner. Once the leaves have been harvested and processed into black tea, they are lightly toasted on a flat iron griddle, then spread out on a bamboo rack and left over a spruce wood fire for many hours. Certainly the smokiest of smoked teas, and also a favourite among connoisseurs.

http://www.palaisdesthes.com/en/the-du-tigre-262.html

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6 Tasting Notes

81
911 tasting notes

Recently, my local(ish) grocery story re-did their tea section. They stopped carrying some of the more ‘normal’ teas (like Twinings and Bigelow) and added some new ones (like Teatulia and Le Palais des Thes). Even though most of the new teas they added are bagged (though they did add some loose, too), I couldn’t resist trying them. I was so pleased with Le Palais des Thes’ Blue of London that the next time I stopped into the store, I perused the other LPdT selections. This was one of the ones that I grabbed.

I do love smoky teas. Love them. But I am not too big on harsh tar in my smoky teas. And I just sort of expect tar in bagged Lapsang. (Probably because of the smell of the Twinings Lapsang Souchong bags that I use to make the husband’s iced tea.) So I really wasn’t expecting much from this tea. But yeah, I bought it anyway and was prepared to be disappointed.

I was wrong. It’s lovely! There’s no tar in this at all. It’s smooth and silky with no astringency and a nice, sweet ending. I will say, for a tea that is described as “the smokiest of the smoky”, it’s actually relatively mild. That’s not to say the smoke is hiding – oh no! It’s there, evoking thoughts of brisket, bacon and ham. But I was expecting harsh, strong and smoke that smacked me around. Instead it’s calming, softy smoky and has a very mellow overall feeling with a great smooth, round flavor. The ending is sweet and smooth and makes me think of caramelized sugar paired with soft smoke.

The bag gives off a great smoked-ham-with-a-honey-glaze sort of smoky smell, especially once hot water hits it. It’s mouthwatering. But after steeping for four minutes, the taste isn’t as strong as that smell. In fact, once the bag is removed, the smell mellows out to a thick, heavy fall-like smoke and sweetness. And that’s what the taste is – smoke, tea and sweetness. It’s not overly complex but it is very nice to have all three flavors present during all parts of the sip. It gives such a great overall feel to the tea – smoothness, sweetness, mellowness and cuddly fall-esque smoke.

If I had one complaint about this tea, it would be that it is almost too soft and mild. The strong smell of the steeping teabag leads me to expect more oomph in the smoke and not to have it almost on the same level as the sweetness in the tea. But honestly, I like the sweetness so much that I can’t find it in myself to complain too much about the relatively equal balance.

I’ve had more complex Lapsangs but I can’t off of the top of my head think of a sweeter one. And for a tea bag, this is rather impressive. In fact, I liked it so much that I used it to make a cheesecake (bacon cake!) for Thanksgiving. It was amazing! The sweetness of the tea worked well with the dessert aspects of the cheesecake and the smoky added a delightful hearty sophistication to it. I served the cake with cups of du Tigre and the pairing was wonderful, accenting the smokiness in the cheesecake and the sweetness in the tea. The cheesecake was so delicious; I would definitely be willing to repeat the experience. And even without the cheesecake, I’m enthusiastic about repeating this tea experience. I imagine I’ll buy this tea again (and again).

(And if anyone is interested in the recipe I used, here it is: http://pinkness.danzimmermann.com/2011/11/bacon-cake.html)

JacquelineM

Innovative and absolutely delicious looking cheesecake!

Ninavampi

I am definitely trying this at some point! : ) It sounds amazing! Congrats!

Angrboda

I agree, a smoky shouldn’t just be all prickles and nothing else. That’s the sort of thing that feels more like standing in a smokefilled room with a mouth full of water rather than having a cup of tea. There should, in my ideal smoky, be lots of smoke, but there should be depth to the cup as well. Any Lapsang that doesn’t have that underlying fruity sweet note could never be my perfect Lapsang.

And I can NOT wait to try the cheesecake! I’ve been lusting for it for days now since you posted it, but it’s the silliest thing holding me back at the moment. Haven’t got anything to make the thing IN! I may have to explore the cupboards and improvise… (what could go wrong? Oh wait… don’t answer that.)

Auggy

JacquelineM, I wish I could take the credit for the innovation but I just swapped the coffee in the cheesecake recipe for tea (and accidentally read the ingredients wrong and used too much water/tea – but it turned out so great I’m keeping the mistake in!) But it is totally delicious!

Ninavampi, Thank you! Successful cheesecake-making always tickles me! I’d love to hear how it goes for you when you decide to give it a go!

Angrboda, I think this tea could use a bit more smoke but I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice the sweetness to get it because you are right, that sweetness is such an important part to a quality smoky tea.

Also, if you don’t have a springform pan, Alton Brown says that you can use a normal 3" deep round pan lined in parchment paper. I haven’t tried it (yet) but there is a video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycxKlc4aYy0. Pan discussion starts at 3:30 and the pan prep info starts at about 4:30. Removing the cheesecake from the pan is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eldnGp4lbGU starting at 4:30. (By the way, his knife in hot water between each slice trick? Makes slicing so much easier! I love Alton Brown!)

Angrboda

The only round things I have that I can put in the oven is the pie dish, which wouldn’t do. It would be too flat and totally not the same thing. Height matters! :p I think I’ll either go an invest in something suitable or deal with the fact that it won’t be round, which really bothers me for some reason.

Auggy

Okay, that wouldn’t do it then! I am intrigued by the idea of a square cheesecake though but agree, it would be weird (for some reason).

Angrboda

It would be even weirder than a big flat one. Maybe I’ll just make a discreet purchase one of these days…

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84
1290 tasting notes

Steepsterites!

My MASSIVE order from Le Palais des Thes has arrived. The vast majority of them are flavoured. Unless you count a smoky tea as flavoured, in which case they’re all flavoured. Included also three free samples which… makes me think I’m just not very lucky when it comes to free samples. AC Perch’s have so far been consistent in including samples of things I know I’m not very keen on (ginger, jasmine, darjeeling…), and while these are not known dislikes, they’re just not really that interesting to me. Oh well, maybe when I try them I will change my mind!

I really didn’t know where to start with this order. Did I mention it was massive? It didn’t help that there were more than one thing in here that I was really very excited about. So I decided to just reach in and get a random pouch, which was this one.

Which coincidentally happens to be one of the ones that I was really excited about! And I see that it already comes with an Auggy stamp of approval. We have very very similar taste in black tea, she and I, and especially of the smoky variety, so now I know for certain that it is worth the excitement.

I have been led to believe that Lapsang Souchong, real LS, is always always always a Chinese base. Do correct me if I’m wrong. I’m under the impression that it’s probably one of those protected names by now, like how Champagne is only made the Champagne district of France and if it’s not greek, it’s not feta cheese. If it isn’t, it’s a distinct enough kind of tea that it probably ought to be.

Therefore this one is interesting because it’s a Taiwanese base.

The leaves, when dry, smell like your average LS. They’re smoky and pine-y, and with a touch of sweetness to them. After steeping this sweetness is so much stronger. It still smells very smoky and a bit pine-y, but the sweetness in the note is sort of fruity and honey-y and it makes the whole thing smell vaguely sticky and viscous. Sort of tough and chewy sticky.

I like a balance in my smoky teas, and my lapsangs in particular, between the smoke and the sweetness. A good LS has a strong and fruity sweet note which tastes like the smoke is mixed into it, so that the flavour profile comes across as one complex note. Many LSs, though, don’t really get to this particular balance and the flavour, while still yummy and smoky, feels divided into layers. Sweetness below and smoke sort of hanging randomly above it. Those that don’t really manage that perfect melded flavour feel more like standing in a room full of smoke with a mouthful of generic black.

The aroma of this tea has that perfectly balanced aroma, and the flavour is nearly there as well.

This one, while smoky, is actually surprisingly mild, which is odd considering LPdT calls it ‘smokiest of the smoky’. Erm no, actually, I have had much more smoky stuff than this.

Before tasting this, I sort of expected a raging smoke-monster with flavour up to here, and what I’m getting is a cute and well-behaved little bunny-wabbit. I have to say, I’m feeling slightly let down here.

At first, when you sip this, the flavour is very sweet and caramel-y. Caramel quickly turns into a fruity flavour, something stone fruit-y like plums or apricots. More the former than the latter, I think, but still somewhere in between. Funny that it should be caramel-y, because in the aroma I thought it was more like honey.

At about the same time I get the fruity notes, the smoky note begins and it grows to its strongest just before I swallow, leaving me with a long, smoky aftertaste.

The aftertaste is as strong as I want it to be and it’s very pleasant, so really, the aroma and the aftertaste is bang on. It’s just the middle, the flavour, that I find lacking. And that’s not really something that can be helped. If a tea is strong, it’s strong, and if it isn’t, you can’t make it. I shall just have to try and brew it stronger and see if that helps.

Still, it’s sweet, it’s smoky. Believe me, this will not be sitting on the shelf for long in this house.

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52
95 tasting notes

Brewed in a big teapot.
Very strong taste of smoke, not the best smoked tea out there.
If you like smoked tea you may like this one, although the smoke override every other taste in this tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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93
5 tasting notes

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8 tasting notes

ok… so how do we write a tea review of an unpleasant experience?

I regretted my decision the moment I opened the sample bag… well, too late.

The smell was so strong it almost made me cough – as if someone mistakenly woke up the Firebird from Fantasia who furiously burned down an entire forest, but completely leaving out (probably the only pleasant and) crispy smell of charcoal.

Extremely smokey, dry, lifeless and bitter, like an ancient armory full of ragged weapons and moldy manuscripts. (If all the dwarfs ever abandoned Iron Forge from World of Warcraft and let the uncivilized and monstrous dragons take over, it’d smell like this…)

All the other teas I have tried so far were nice – as in they were respectful towards my feelings and would only gently reveal themselves to me at a pace I’m comfortable with. But no, not this one. This one was angry and overwhelmingly expressive – it stuck itself right in my face without asking for permission or announcing its presence in advance. It reminded me of story tellers who refused to sugar coat anything and would only portrait life in its darkest, cruelest and possibly realist forms.

I don’t appreciate that. Well, at least not now.

I drank the tea just so I could say “been there done that”. To be fair, despite of the strong smell, the tea actually tasted quite smooth and silky.

Nevertheless, I am going back to all my fine and dandy teas of good manners…

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67
8 tasting notes

I wish this one tasted as good and strong as it smells. I absolutely love the smell of both the dry leaves and especially of the brewed tea. The tea smells like a low burning campfire, and I just love holding a cup of it to my chest when I’m cold and inhaling the woody, smokey smell.

For such a lovely smelling tea, the taste is a little too weak and mild for a lapsang. It’s decent – pleasantly smokey and very warming. However, it is a little…thin tasting, especially for a smokey tea. I am very surprised that they are calling this the strongest and smokiest of the Lapsangs because it is actually fairly mild. Steeping for longer just gives the smokey quality more of a chemical taste rather than any real strength.

While I do like it, I am left feeling that I am missing something from it. It comes on well, but it fades too quickly, leaving without any real impact. I was hoping for something a little more robust feeling, which it seems to hint at but never quite delivers.

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