I love a good Keemun and I try to always keep one around. I’ve found my perfect favourite Keemun not too long ago, but I’m not so married to it that I’m going out of my way to make sure it’s that particular Keemun that is always in the cupboard. Any Keemun is fine really. I’m loosening up in the same way with other types, I’ve noticed. I have my favourites, my most beloved, and I make sure I won’t forget where it came from when I find Perfection, but it’s only my various flavoured favourites, where I’m truly brand loyal. But the flavoured tea is a completely different beast as well.
Sil shared this particular Keemun with me, and it’s from a company that I’ve previously had some very good teas from. I remember fondly the Heritage Aijiao Oolong. Wombatgirl once sent me a whole pouch of that one as a gift. (I miss her. I wish she was still around.) I wrote a (bad) ode to that one, for crying out loud! I believe I must have a tried one or two others from that company as well. So Red Blossom is a company that immediately raises my expectations of the tea I’m about to drink.
Very pleasant aroma on this one. Lightly smoky and with grainy notes underneath. Just how I like’em. There’s a smidge of something floral to it as well, but it smells like it’s in balance with the note of smoke. I prefer that. I’ve long believed that the smoky note in some Keemuns and the floral note in others are actually the same aspect, but coming across in different ways. Seems to me that this depends on the leaf grade. Higher leaf grades are usually more floral than smoky, where lower grades are more smoky than floral. I tend to prefer sort of the lower end of the middle here.
The flavour is quite strong, and it has an initial prickly feeling of smoke with a floral character. After that it’s just completely smooth. The note of grain seems to be a tad thin though. That initial flavour is just so big, it’s like the grain can’t quite keep up with it.
As it cools a little further, however, this is adjusted as the grainy note seems to expand more, becoming thicker and smoother.
There is also quite a nutty flavour to this one, which is a new note to me. Strangely though it doesn’t feel like it’s anything new in that this tea doesn’t strike me as hugely different from other teas of its kind. It’s just that this nutty note is like something that was always there but which I’ve only just become aware of. Slightly toasted hazelnuts. It’s a very small note in all this, which is probably why I’ve never really identified it before even though I feel like I’ve been aware of it being there. Does any of this even make sense?
Anyway, as it cools a little further, I’m nearing the end of the cup here, that nutty note mellows out again and all but disappears. That supports my suspicion that it’s a note that was there in Keemuns all along, but difficult to identify. Apparently you only get a small window of ideal temperature to do it in.
Many Keemuns seem to have the ability to develop caramel-y notes, but I haven’t really found any of that in this one. Mind you I’ve never had a Keemun that went all out on the caramel yet either but I’ve had several that tasted like they could have. This one is really just the smoky/floral start, the grainy middle and the briefly nutty finish. I wouldn’t have minded a smidge of caramel in there as well.