Doulton provided this as a lagniappe when she sent me the Dammann Freres I’d ordered through her organized buying efforts. How nice to have something unexpected show up, and something I hadn’t yet tasted to boot!
It’s also something of a mystery as I can’t find a list of ingredients for it. Clearly there is black tea. There are also red and blue flowers and a slight rose scent to the dry tea. So I’m going with Alicia on this — rose and cornflower. Apart from that, mild spiciness, like a spicy perfume. Lovely fragrance.
I steeped this for a full 5 minutes, as suggested on Doulton’s label (with a giraffe on it, how cute!) I get a light floral note and some gentle spice as well as smooth tea in the aroma.
The flavor has this, too, plus a suggestion of citrus. I cheated and read the notes others had posted and it seems the consensus is this is bergamot and that this is in fact something of an Earl Grey variation. Hmm. I don’t think I would have got that at all had I not read it. If it is supposed to be an Earl Grey variation, it isn’t succeeding, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I liked the Earl Grey Special from Teafrog even though it didn’t seem much like an Earl Grey to me.
I like this, but it isn’t my favorite Mariage Freres, and it wouldn’t rank among Earl Greys for me.
I think next time I’ll try it steeped for less time and see what that’s like. I rarely steep anything for 5 minutes anymore except herbals and very late oolong and pu erh steeps.