Scarlet Sable

Tea type
Black Rooibos Blend
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
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Caffeine
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Certification
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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15 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Sick, stuffy and tired might not be the best time to try a new tea, but looks like that's not going to stop me. I've been trying to have this tea for a few days but one thing or another comes up. ...” Read full tasting note
    94
    aug3zimm 911 tasting notes
  • “I trust *Auggy.* If she says, as a fellow disliker of rooibos, that this is a good smoky, then I believe her. Even if it has what looks like a LOT of rooibos in it. I was a bit apprehensive...” Read full tasting note
    82
    Angrboda 1270 tasting notes
  • “Auggy threw down the gauntlet and said to me, "Drink this tea!" She knows how I have a very finicky relationship with lapsang and Earl Grey. A marriage of two flavor profiles that if I had a choice...” Read full tasting note
    74
    teaplz 186 tasting notes
  • “Scarlet Sable is a name that is completely fitting to this tea. It is definitely not something that everyone is going to like, and on most days it's not going to be something that I instinctively...” Read full tasting note
    71
    takgoti 260 tasting notes

From Samovar

From http://www.samovarlife.com -

Origin: Proprietary Blend of Black Teas from China, Botanicals from China and Italy, and Rooibos from Western Cape Province, South Africa. .

Flavor Profile: Round, full flavor, with an earthy, sweet, and smoky body. Lingering notes of lychee fruit, pine smoke, and citrus.

Tea Story: A scarlet herb and a black tea joined together for our gastronomic pleasure … A fortuitously created blend invented by one of our Samovarian leaders, Ester. A truly global mix of botanicals and flavors, antioxidants and artery scrubbing thearubigen. The best the world has to offer in scarlet infusions: black tea (known as red tea in China) and rooibos (the famous red bush of South Africa).

About Rooibos
Only grown in the Cedar Mountain Area of South Africa’s Western Cape, rooibos is rich in minerals and antioxidants, and free of caffeine and made by gently roasting the tips of the rooibos plant, making the leaves a dark reddish-brown, and an amazing clear, red infusion.

Also known as “red tea,” or “red bush tea,” this herbal is pretty popular these days. A singular flavor that is slightly sweet with earthy, roasted notes of barley malt. This herbal is a native to South Africa and has been getting much publicity recently because of its abundance of anti-aging properties: antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

Samovarian Poetry: Sultry, sweet, smoky, and, yes, seductive. House blended black tea with the most silky mouth feel,lingering notes of lychee, pine smoke, and citrus.

Food Pairing: Scarlet Sable’s lightly fruity, earthy flavor best pairs with deserts that have a subtle flavoring. Deserts that feature melon or creams, and mild sorbets would all melt perfectly in your mouth with our Scartet Sable. Sweet breads like scones (with clotted cream and jam), or rooibos short bread cookies are ideal matches as well.

About Samovar View company

Samovar's is dedicated to preserving the simplicity and integrity of the tea traditions and inspiring people to practice peace through drinking tea.

15 Tasting Notes

94
911 tasting notes

Sick, stuffy and tired might not be the best time to try a new tea, but looks like that’s not going to stop me. I’ve been trying to have this tea for a few days but one thing or another comes up. But now with the massive amounts of tea I’m attempting to have today (and succeeding nicely, thanks), I can throw this one in to the mix.

The dry leaves smell surprisingly spicy. Smoky and almost a little ‘whoosh’-y menthol-y. There’s also a darker sweetness. I’m getting whiffs of the rooibos but the wood doesn’t smell sour – it blends very nicely with the other dark, spicy, earthy smells going on in this tea. All brewed up, I can smell the rooibos more distinctly but it is combined with what smells like lapsang souchong and a warm spicy smell. I’m thinking it is the pine from the tasting notes but possibly the citrus is bolstering the spicy bit of it.

And wow, the taste is surprising. There is so much lapsang souchong in the smell that I was really expecting that to be the main taste but it isn’t. Instead it is fruity sweet with a warm spicy to it followed by a bit of wood taste that must be the rooibos. But it doesn’t have the moldy wood taste that normally sticks out of flavorings like a sore thumb. Instead, it all combines nicely – the rooibos wood flavor is like the trellis and the other flavors are little vines, twisting and weaving around and through it. Bright little flowers of citrus pop through the smoky clouds occasionally and spark thoughts of an Earl Grey.

This tea is nuts. There is so much going on but it is all so effortless. It doesn’t seem forced or clunky or unwieldy, but instead like beastly-looking dancers gracefully twirling on a dark stage.

And wow, with that I think I officially need to stop. The mental exhaustion is obviously too much for my simple mind. But yeah, I don’t think I’ve tasted something like this tea before. If you don’t like lapsang souchong, I’d say you wouldn’t like this. At all. Very woodsy and smoky. But if you like smoky, dark, intense teas? This one is pretty awesome.

So much love to takgoti for sending me this. So. Much. Love.

(ETA: Second steep – more citrus, less smoky, just as much love.)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Angrboda

That sounds awesome.

Auggy

If this tea tastes this good when I’m well? I’m seriously going to be in love. Wait, I’m already in love. The love will continue. Oh yes. It will.

teaplz

Yay! I have this one from takgoti as well, and I’ve been a bit nervous to try it because of the lapsang quotient in there. But I’ll be brave and brew it up!

Pamela Dean

Auggy, this is an extra-beautiful tasting note — even for you! Got to try this tea, or try making up my own version of it. Can’t buy any more tea for a while. I bought a Pino Digital Pro water kettle, and it took all my money but worth every penny! And so light on my arthritic wrists! :)

Auggy

@teaplz – Be brave! Go forth and brew! Though honestly, I’m thinking you might not be a fan because of the lapsang… you haven’t had much success with that, right? And this puppy has some good lapsang to it. Mmm. Plus the citrus makes it a little Earl Grey-y and am I remembering right that you aren’t a fan? On the other hand, I detest rooibos and I loved this so there is hope! :)

@Pamela – Aw, thanks! And yay for new tea equipment (even if it does leave a little less $$ for tea)! I’m just thinking about trying to blend something like this and I know I don’t have the skills – so many different things going on but they work so beautifully together… It’s definitely a unique tea!

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82
1270 tasting notes

I trust Auggy. If she says, as a fellow disliker of rooibos, that this is a good smoky, then I believe her.

Even if it has what looks like a LOT of rooibos in it.

I was a bit apprehensive of this one, going around poking the tin cautiously for a while now. It’s the last one of the Auggy-smokies, so there’s no way to postpone it any longer.

The dry leaves smell more woody and Earl Grey-y than I had expected. Spicy too. Pepper-y. I reminded of cayenne and such like. (I trust Auggy)

There is a sweet, honey-y smell from the cup when I pour, and when I smell a bit closer, there the smoke is. It’s not a very permeating note in the aroma, but it’s there. In combination with the rooibos it turns into a funny citrus-y note, which brings my mind back to the Earl Grey-ness of the dry leaves.

I trust Auggy.

Okay, here goes. This is me about to have rooibos blend. (This is me post-poning the moment, actually). I have my sugar dispenser within reach, just in case I need to drown out some of the rooibos. Okay. Insert trusting Auggy mantra here. Right. takes deep breath and gathers courage

Okay, this is odd.

sips again

This is unmistakably rooibos. sips But it sort of doesn’t taste entirely like rooibos. The smoke is doing some weird things to it. That special sweet/spicy/sour note of regular rooibos is very underplayed here, barely there at all, but it tastes a bit like there ought to be a handful of freshly cut wood chips in there.

It’s supposed to have a lychee note too. I’m in the fortunate position that I actually know what lychees taste like (they’re very yummy) so I know which flavour to search for. And it is indeed there. A bit woodier than the real fruit, but it’s there loud and clear on the swallow and to some degree in the aftertaste.

The smoke itself, because the smoke is what’s important here, is not really very obvious when you drink this. Mostly I’m just sitting here considering what an odd general flavour it has, and then the smoke comes in as a sort of after thought. If it hadn’t been for the smoke, however, I’m really not sure I could have made myself finish the cup.

With the smoke it is a very nice cup indeed, but it’s not one I couldn’t live without. (Unlike that Andrews & Dunham Caravan… What’s to become of me now?) Of these four that Auggy shared with me, I would put this one as my least favourite. Which isn’t really saying much considering that I’m still giving it so many points.

My trust in Auggy suffered no damage on account of this tea, even if I was quite apprehensive about it at first.

What a strange and complicated tea.

Auggy

Hehe! This made laugh many times. Glad you enjoyed it in spite of the apprehension. It is certainly a funky little tea!

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74
186 tasting notes

Auggy threw down the gauntlet and said to me, “Drink this tea!” She knows how I have a very finicky relationship with lapsang and Earl Grey. A marriage of two flavor profiles that if I had a choice to take it or leave it, I’d leave it. Could this tea that combines both potentially be my kyptonite?

Obviously from my rating, it isn’t. So I’m going to talk about it a bit.

Scarlet Sable is a pretty name, and this is a very pretty tea. Large, wiry black leaves, intermingled with bits of red rooibos. The entire concoction smells like lapsang spiked with lemon. It actually smells really good. But then again, I think that both lapsang and Earl Grey smell amazing. It’s the taste that always gets me.

So I steep this one up, getting more and more nervous the darker the tea becomes. I’m waiting for a potent brew that will knock me halfway across my house, singe my eyebrows off, and have me crawling to my computer to just log, “HALP.”

I take the first sniff. Lapsang, but it’s not very overpowering. That smokey barbecue sweet followed by a light lemon smell. Bright and dark at the same time, and very, very confusing. So I stuck my spoon into the tea (yes, I drink tea with a spoon), and took a big slurp.

That’s when the confusion really set in. At first we had a cedar-pine-smoke taste, that campfire smell that explodes on the tongue. But this quickly dissolves into bergamot. The more floral end of bergamot, but very light and bright and citrus-like. Towards the tail end of the flavor there’s a bit more lapsang, but it’s sweeter and mixed with a fruit-like note, and this gives way to more lemon-like bergamot…

I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it. Somehow the flavors merge, but they also cycle and battle each other in my mouth until I’m not really sure who wins. And somehow, this really bizarre concoction manages to taste better than both a typical Earl Grey and a typical lapsang! I think it’s because both flavors are so intense, that they cancel each other out, and create something that is far less aggressive. Instead of getting a full-brunt explosion of either lapsang or Earl Grey, they’re both muted by each other, and provide a much more satisfying cup. Dare I say that this one is actually… light at points? And entirely sippable? Yeah, I said it.

And in an odd way, it almost tastes like barbecued lemon chicken!

But you know what? It’s Samovar, and I’m starting to understand that Samovar = quality. takgoti sent me some of this to spread the Samovar gospel, and I think I’m going to be one of her disciples, cause this stuff is good. And there’s no way I should even remotely like this. So thanks, tak-tak, and thanks, Auggers, for goading me on to try this bizarre, but weirdly addictive, tea!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
S

I loved this review, especially the image of you crawling over to the computer to type “HALP”. smile

Auggy

Muahahahahahaha! Love it! Yes, it is a super-busy tea! Now I want to have more and think of barbecued lemon chicken!

teaplz

Seriously, I’m sort of surprised that this tastes half as good as it does! It’s a miracle of blending! Now to try Samovar’s Lapsang, and see if I am as weirded out by it as GM’s version. Lapsang is such a strange beasty of a tea.

Ricky

Scary scary indeed. I’d run far away if I saw this tea.

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71
260 tasting notes

Scarlet Sable is a name that is completely fitting to this tea. It is definitely not something that everyone is going to like, and on most days it’s not going to be something that I instinctively grab. However, if you’re looking for something different with some complexity to it, she might be the lady for you.

The rooibos in the blend feels like a base flavor to me, while the black tea that they use wraps smoky tendrils around its core. The smoky taste is very reminiscent of lapsang souchong. Even as I type this it doesn’t sound very appetizing, but it’s not bad. It’s one of those flavor combinations that makes me pause momentarily and go, “Huh.”

The part that makes it really interesting to me, though, is the supporting cast in Scarlet Sable. There is a light, citrusy note that almost seems to pulse gently through it all. At times, lychee briefly presents itself in soft explosions. Little poofs of flavor that hit at the back of the tongue to remind you that it’s in there. Almost like it’s trying to escape.

It’s an extremely interesting tea, but again, not something for everyday drinking. If you don’t like smoky teas, avoid it, because that aspect is very prominent. Good for centering the mind and bringing things back into focus.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Jason

I’ve heard really good things about Samovar and always wanted to try them. You seem to drink a lot of their stuff and know a lot about them. If you could only recommend one tea from them, what would you recommend?

takgoti

Yunnan Golden Bud.

No hesitation. Go for the jugular.

Jason

http://steepster.com/jason/shopping-list

I’m a little confused though, this is what it says on their site:
Small Tea Can $24.00
20% off: $12.80
You Save $11.20!

Last time I checked 20% off of 24 was not 12.80…but I’m not sure why I’d argue with more savings. Am I reading this wrong?

takgoti

Negatron, it’s not just you. That’s definitely some weird coding juju happening there. In the cart it reads $19.20 for me. Not sure what they’re going to do about that, but I can tell you that the coupon code cozytea will get you another 20% off?

Jason

Is that a limited offer coupon or is it persistent?

takgoti

It’s good through…wait, I posted it somewhere.

12.01.2009.

Jason

Sweet, thanks.

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81
237 tasting notes

This one sounds really intriguing – blending lapsang and lychee again, but with bergamot and rooibos in the mix too. The dry leaf looks pretty much as one would expect, with a good proportion being rooibos and a smell that has both smoky and sweet notes.

Steeped up after four minutes, I’ve got a medium dark brown clear liquor that has a very complex scent – if I concentrate I can pick out all the elements, though the bergamot is the furthest in the background. The taste is similar to the lychee/Lapsang blend, but with the characteristic sweet/woody rooibos flavor along for the ride. Again, very little bergamot, just a shade I get now and then. I drank the whole cup without additives and think I’d probably prefer it that way than with cream and sugar. I enjoyed this one, but not as much as some of Samovar’s other varieties.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Jaime

I’m going to have to try some of these lapsang blends…they sound so interesting.

Adham

I’d gotten so used to drinking Lapsangs straight that I never considered how they might be in a blend – I’m glad Samovar opened my eyes to a whole new range of teas.

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80
154 tasting notes

Well! I have finally ordered something from samovar! To many glowing recommendations not to honestly.
So this is my first tea from them ever!
It smells smokey like a lapsang. I really was not expecting that but, it’s all cool man.
Since my boyfriend likes bacon so much I called him over for a sip and his first comment was that it smelled weird. I explained what a lapsang was and then he got it. Suprisingly to me, he didn’t like it. I figured he wouldn’t mind it since it was more manly. Oh well.
Anyways… I tried it plain first and I am really pleasantly surprised by the fact it needs absolutely nothing for me to enjoy it. Usually I need smokier teas to have a little sugar to bring out the under lying sweetness and take away some of the tannins.
This needs nothing at all to be extremely flavorful and smooth.
The flavor hits in three parts with an initial smokey burst followed by a smooth black tea impression and then it’s surprisingly sweet.
I’m gonna go enjoy my pot now. Yum.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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77
80 tasting notes

I’ve been exhausted all day, seems all I do is homework. Still need to get work done, so time for some more black tea samplers ;)

The smell of this is not too appetizing. It smells smoky, but the rooibos smell is strong as well. I’m not sure whether milk and sugar would go well with this because of the rooibos, so I’m trying it first without—not bad, I could definitely drink this on its own. The harshness of black tea subdued by the rooibos flavor, and the smokyness gives a nice kick to it.

Adding some sugar made the tea just sweet enough to really enjoy. I think I’ll try adding milk to my second steep… if it comes out well. So far the samovar black samplers have lasted 2~4 infusions just like the package says. I’m not used to resteeping black teas.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
LauraR

I have been dying to try this one. Does it actually have rooibos in it? I thought it was just a smoky black tea.

Kathryn Ann

it definitely has actual rooibos leaves in it. i was surprised because i wasn’t expecting it when i poured it into my infuser and tiny rooibos leaves came out. It was a nice combo :)

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70
53 tasting notes

First impressions -

Smell – This is Ocean of Wisdom mixed with Lapsang Souchong.

Looks – Same as smell, but in general this is a wickedly evil looking tea with its general red and orange hues mixed in with very black leaves.

Taste – The smokiness of this tea is definitely the prominent flavour here. If you’re not a fan of smokey teas, you need not read further. I’m getting some hints of the roobios, though at this point (while the tea is still very hot) it’s more of an aftertaste. We’ll see if that changes in any way as it cools.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Raffi

Got a solid second steep out of it (not enough time today for more steeps) and now I’m getting much more of the roobios flavour over the smokiness. Interesting.

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82
100 tasting notes

It’s different. The smoke, Earl Grey and other flavors blend really well together. Rooibos is pretty up front. There is a slight tar/bitter taste at the end. I need more time with this to fully appreciate it but it’s good.

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76
37 tasting notes

Just got this in, along with their Earl Lavender and Ancient Gold blends. This tea is reminiscent of Earl Grey blends I have had in the past, yet a little less floral/citrusy and much more smokey and woody. The rooibos is a very nice touch and add’s a nice character to the tea that really completes the whole package.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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