A while ago I was complaining about Darjeelings all tasting the same and how Indians just weren’t doing anything for me, and Thomas Smith suggested that I try a Nilgiri. I said that I didn’t think there was one included in my sampler box, but closer inspection has prooved me wrong. There was one after all. So I decided to try it out.
It has a funny sort of aroma. It’s very spicy, and maybe even a little bit burnt. Or a very dark sort of caramel-y thing. I believe I’ve heard people mention burnt sugar before, although I think it was about a different tea. But I’m sort of getting that in the aroma here. On top of that there is a funny sort of Ceylon-ness about. Overdone Ceylon, actually, which has me a little concerned.
Gosh! Astringent! Astringency times whoa! O.O It only steeped for a minute, how can it be this dry?
It rather tastes like an overdone Ceylon too except without the bitterness. The idea of a slightly-too-strong-Ceylon, more than actual ruined Ceylon itself. This is a strong tea, and it’s got a LOT of flavour. Without actually tasting like coffee (thankfully! Certain things just shouldn’t mix. Ever.) that’s the direction it takes my mind in. Allow me to go a little out on a very abstract tangent here. It tastes like the bushes were grown in a field that used to have coffee plants (trees? bushes?) in it.
Apart from that astringent coffee-esque sort of flavour there, I’m still getting a lot of spicyness, but the burnt sugar has diminished a lot. Oh there’s still burntness (which shouldn’t be confused with smokyness), but the sugar-y aspect is gone. This leads me to believe that adding a little sugar might be good here. So I tried that, but it didn’t really give me any sort of burnt sugar-y aspect after all. The flavour profile of the tea stayed the same and then just a hint of an aftertaste of sugar. I might as well not have added anything, because it made absolutely zero difference.
Underneath it all there’s a fruity note, but not a sweet fruit. A darker-flavoured fruit. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what, but it’s definitely something fruit-like. Sour cherries, maybe. It doesn’t realy matter what sort of fruit either, becuase the two other layers of flavour are dominating it so much.
If I were to drink this regularly, I would have to drink really weakling brewings. It seems to me that I frequently find myself complaining that a tea isn’t strong enough, but then when I finally find one that is, that’s wrong too.
And yet, of all the Indians and Ceylons I’ve tried out of this sample box, I thing this is the one that appeals to me the most. It’s got power and strength and a surprisingly complex flavour. It might not be over the top awesome, but it’s interesting. And interesting is definitely worth a lot of points too.