I have certainly been having trouble making a taste note of this tea. There are no less than 3 entries for it on steepster, and I could not seem to add any taste notes to the original entry for it. (and accents on tea titles seem to just not work with steepster search). testing now….
And it worked, wow! to add the taste note now
This was a sample for a swap with Toitoi, thank you so much! This was a tea which had been on my wishlist for a while and which I was so glad to have a chance of trying. Ysaurella was the one which pointed out that it had hazelnut flavours, after I had already had a couple cups of it without identifying those, and she is totally right. Not sure where my nose was what, except that I think the brewed liquor smells quite different than the loose leaf. The dry leaf, particularly concentrated on the awesome foil bag Toitoi used smells intensely of sweet hazelnuts, with caramel and vanilla (that is: sublime). The liquor itself, at least how I brewed it, the hazelnuts meld and it´s the caramel vanilla which rules. And it is a lovely tea indeed.
But, I had my other Mariage Freres tea around and remembered to compare this tea´s scent with Wedding Impérial and Pleine Lune. Comparing just the scent of the dry leaf, Phénix wins it: smells much more balanced (Pleine Lune has that sharpness of the bitter almonds, Wedding Impérial that malty ovomaltine like smell) more delicious, just more right. But and this is a big but, the liquor seems to have less character, be less memorable than for those other more famous MF tea (and I also prefer Thé du Loup to Phénix). Not sure if this means the others are more justly famous, or if it´s me being biased towards the teas I have had more often and am more familiar with. Interesting.
This tea would, by the way, be a buy-more if I ever get the chance without being lured away from it from all the other so-alluring hard to find Mariage teas…