Rouge Bourbon

Tea type
Rooibos Tea
Alcohol, Vanilla, Cream, Wood, Rooibos
Sold in
Bulk, Loose Leaf, Sachet
Caffeine Free
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Sivasubramanian
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 20 oz / 598 ml

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27 Tasting Notes View all

From Mariage Frères

Flavoured with ‘Bourbon vanilla’, this red tea from South Africa displays great finesse. Delicate aroma, subtle taste and 100% caffeine-free. For pleasant occasions.

“Grande finesse, rouge sans théine parfumé à l’arôme de vanille bourbon. Parfum délicat et goût subtil. Thé pour les moments agréables. 100% sans théine.”

Amount of tea leaves: 2.5g
Best water temperature: 95 °C
Infusion time: 5 min

About Mariage Frères View company

Company description not available.

27 Tasting Notes

1957 tasting notes

This tin is nearly empty, and it’s had a hard life. The vanilla’s waning. But keeping with “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” (thank you Ma Ingalls), I tossed in a fingertip sized pinch of cacao nibs and a pinch of calendula leaves. That added a little twinkle and a little sweetness.

I have two quart jars of calendula leaves. At one small pinch per steeping experiment, my supply could well outlive me.

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911 tasting notes

Note to self: when endeavoring to get through large numbers of tea in a day, perhaps it is not the wisest course of action to use the 12oz cup. And if the 12oz cup is selected, perhaps second steeps should be avoided. And perhaps caffeinated teas should be alternated with decaffeinated teas. The alternative is shaky hands, twitching and a desire to dance like a Muppet.

I typically save rooibos for nighttime but for some reason, it seemed like a good idea to try this one now. I’m still on the hunt for rooibos that I enjoy and Doulton was nice enough to send me a sample of this one to try. Which is awesome because I would have hated to have actually purchased this as I conducted my search. Because this? Is like concentrated rooibos. The smell is sweet and faintly vanilla-y and fully rooibos-y. But when I take a sip is when it really shows of the rooibos-ness. I think it is the sweetness of the vanilla that accentuates the taste of the rooibos because it pretty much beats me over the head with rooibos ickiness. Even with the aftertaste, it is still beating me while yelling, “DIE! DIE! I AM ROOIBOS, FEAR ME! DIE!”

Okay, maybe I’m being a tad bit dramatic (let’s blame all of the caffeine today, shall we?) but still, this is so freaking rooibos. It’s a floof of vanilla on top of concentrated rooibos. It is the essence of rooibos. It is the epitomy of all the things about rooibos I don’t like. Sweet, sour wood. From smell to aftertaste. For someone that doesn’t like rooibos (that’d be me), this is not fun.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Why do you think I was trying to get rid of it? Evil stuff. I’ve learned that I am not and probably never will be a rooibos drinker. I don’t think it belongs in the same category as tea. It’s like putting Moxie and Royal Crown in the same category as milk. And why does 52teas have such an addiction to rooibos?


Hahah! Well, I’m glad I got to experience and you got to get rid of a bit of it! I’m still convinced that somewhere out there is tasty rooibos – Samovar’s Ocean of Wisdom really wasn’t bad at all – so the search will continue. At least until I become totally disillusioned! :)


aww poor rooibos, and poor you! that is a lot of caffeine!




AmazonV, Yes on all counts! I really know better than to have that much caffeine but then I should also know better than to try rooibos. Hehe.
Morgana, I would support that newsgroup in a minute!


i’ll protect you all from the rooibos by drinking it all myself ;P


I am begining to dislike rooibos but I LOVE Ocean of Wisdom. In fact, the rooibos is not noticeable at all in Ocean of Wisdom….


Eww to sweet sour wood! :)


AmazonV – Ha! That sounds like a great plan!
Lori – Ocean of Wisdom is probably the only full rooibos tea that I’ve had that I could see myself actually buying. Have you had their Scarlet Sable? It’s a rooibos/black tea blend and it is one of my favorite teas. Samovar is the only proof I have that rooibos does not equal evil! (Or at least, when in the right hands.)
Stephanie, that’s pretty much how I read any rooibos and I think the vanilla in this one just made it worse. But I do think that someone that is a fan of plain rooibos might actually find this a lightly flavored rooibos in a good way.

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1433 tasting notes

Backlogged from earlier tonight.

Went to Faubourg with some friends tonight, a French patisserie in downtown Vancouver. They sell Mariage Freres tea there, and this was the first one that caught my eye. (For the record, they also sell them in the tins, however 50g is $38… Holt Renfrew is $24).

I found the smell of this tea to be standard rooibos, however the flavoring was very vanilla-rich, almost like a custardy booze. I re-steeped it twice with zero flavor loss, however I still wanted more out of this. More… bourbon? I dunno. I guess I just expected more from such an expensive tea, and one that’s hard to find here. I’ll order it again if it’s around, however I’ll likely never buy any loose for the house.


Is it worth going there, as someone who doesn’t eat gluten? Do they do tea to go or just sit down tea? :)


They do anything to go (as well as pre-orders), and do tea lattes too. EVERYTHING had gluten in it, except for the macarons… however no one who was working could tell me what the flour was that was used. The first gal tried to tell me, “macaron flour” and I laughed. She blushed and said I should call in the morning when the bakers are still in the store, and ask them. It’s also a surprisingly large store, with a movie playing on the wall and two stunning leaf/tree/crystal sculptures. It is however right next to a Cafe Artigiano, which I find to be much more gluten-friendly. I ate a lemon tart and just scraped it out of the tart. Super yummy, even though probably a bad idea in hindsight. :$


My guess is that the macarons are made as meringues as the outside shell, with buttercream inside… and thus, gluten-free.


French macaron are almond flour, sugar and egg whites. :) I couldn’t actually scrape out the tart. I’d end up either so sick, or with terrible brain fog. I can’t even do a little bit of regular soy sauce with my sushi anymore. I’ll have to check them out for tea to go. :)

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150 tasting notes

Rouge Bourbon is a tasty vanilla rooibos tea. I’m just not sure that I’m WOWd. The flavor is pleasant but I was hoping for something a little more bourbon… or special… or interesting. I get that vanilla extract is (often) made with bourbon, hence there’s (often) a bourbon flavor in the vanilla, but I still find myself wanting more from the flavor of this tea.

I’m a lucky girl because SimplyJenW spoiled me with an XL sample of this baby so I can give it a few more tries. Hug/ smacks to you my tea-friend :)


I was not wowed by this one, either, but I thought it was more due to the fact that rooibos is not really my ‘bag’. I think we should be able to expect more from MF. I am partial to Metro’s Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos.


AND now I have another tea to obssess over trying :)


The vanilla here is really really delicate – I mentally classify this as plain rooibos (the best one!) rather than flavoured one. Vanilla IMO goes over really well with rooibos, and this one seems to be just the little bit necessary, a hint, for make very good (IMO) rooibos shine. Which of course means it is not necessarily a good rooibos for people who do not like rooibos. I think they got a more vanilla-ey version of vanilla rooibos, though I can not recall!

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1112 tasting notes

The flavoring is too subtle for a rooibos in my opinion. I felt it almost tasted like a plain rooibos…which I enjoy…but not what I was going after this evening. You know I love vanilla, but it was a barely detectable flavor. When it comes to rooibos, I do prefer the knock you over the head ones rather than the subtle ones. I feel that you could save your dollars and get a nice, plain organic rooibos and have it taste very similar. Still, a nice warm late night cup.

Thanks so much to Doulton for this sample!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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257 tasting notes

I’ve really gone off rooibos teas. Somehow I can’t get the sense of sawdust out of my mind. I purchased this tea before I knew that I had to limit the rooibos in my life. It’s a superb rooibos with no false flavors and a strong vanilla taste. I am not certain about detecting the bourbon or any kind of liquor—maybe next time I’ll watch for it more closely.

So far Eros is winning my Mariage Freres top-affections. But this is nice and very vanilla-y for an evening tea.

5 min, 0 sec

Rooibos reminds me of sawdust too! And pipe tobacco. But I doubt any bourbon liquor flavors can be detected though, because “Bourbon” Vanilla refers to vanilla from Reunion Island (formally “Ile Bourbon”).


Thank you for telling me this. I did not know it at all, but I did think that perhaps “Bourbon” was a concept far different than that of the USA.

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111 tasting notes

The first few times I drank this tea, I was not wowed, though I found it very pleasant. But then, I realized this brew was one of those I picked the most easily from my cupboard, knowing I will enjoy it whatever my mood and taste preference are.
What I really like about it, is its simplicity : it taste like rooibos, with just the right hint of vanilla, which is never overwhelming, hence a very suble blend. For those of you wondering about Bourbon, it’s actually the brand name of the vanilla, grown in the Indian ocean (Mauritius, Madagascar or Ile de la Réunion); no link with the US whiskey.
I also have used it for making ice-tea (after a hot brew); it is absolutely perfect, both refreshing without any bitterness or aftertaste; the vanilla taste gives a smooth flavor, as if it were lightly sugared.
A favorite of my husband as well.
Very nice with honey, to doctor a cold or a sore throat.
I will soon have finished the pack and will definitely buy it again sometime.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Precisely! I was nodding all the way through your review.

It is a sort of underwhelming tea at first, the vanilla is so delicate, it is just plain rooibos but it is such good rooibos and that delicate vanilla just makes it so much better than plain rooibos. Like chocolate I guess, it needs a hint of vanilla to became better even if it is not a strong vanilla.


Amazing, yesterday I just tried adding one more paragraph to my review but couldn’t save it. I’ve just input it. Guess my surprise when I read your comment that means exactly that ;)


Oh, wow, that is a coincidence, and almost scary. i swear I got no ESP powers! I do think our tastes do coincide on a lot of teas though.

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326 tasting notes

Rooibos + vanilla is an unbeatable formula and rarely goes wrong. Rouge Bourbon, i.e. MF’s rooibos vanilla, achieves a perfect balance between rooibos and vanilla. You can taste both the candy-like sweetness of vanilla (Bourbon Vanilla, according to MF) and the unique earthy flavour of rooibos. MF has again done a amazing job, though as a vanilla lover I actually won’t mind some imbalance… haha ;P

Winter Salo

Oooh candy vanilla is the best vanilla yum yum… I agree when it comes to vanilla imbalance is awesome. :)

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658 tasting notes

A box of sachets of this tea was my Valentine’s gift.

This was nice, and calming. A good evening tea I think. The vanilla isn’t terribly strong but the rooibos is a very nice one.

Also, the sachets are ridiculous/amazing. There were no tins of this tea loose and I feel like bags take all the fun out of making tea, but the fancy little muslin sachets made up for it.

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