I’m on a mission to try all of Simpson & Vail’s original blends before the end of 2017. There are only 15, so I think I can do it. I’ve already had their Russian Caravan Tea and their Aromatic Earl Grey. After I finish the last of this particular blend, I hope to start on either their China Restaurant or Irish Blend.
I prepared this tea using the merchant’s suggested brewing method. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 3 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions. I have also tried slightly longer infusions around 4-5 minutes. I found the 3 minute infusion to be less astringent so I will focus my commentary on that specific preparation.
Prior to infusion, I noticed that the dry leaves did not emit much of an aroma. After infusion, the golden amber liquor produced surprisingly mild aromas of bergamot, toast, honey, cream, almonds, and orange. In the mouth, I detected mild, integrated notes of honey, cream, malt, toast, nutmeg, roasted almonds, bergamot, and orange. The finish was mostly smooth, creamy, and toasty, though it did also offer an interesting ghostly impression of bergamot and orange peel on the back of the throat.
I know this is an old, established blend from a reputable vendor, but I, personally, did not care all that much for this stuff. I know a lot of people like it, and that is perfectly fine, but it just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve noticed that Simpson & Vail’s blends tend to be all about subtlety, but I found this to be too subtle and smooth. It was sort of bland. If the orange and bergamot had a greater presence in this blend and the base of Indian teas were slightly more flavorful, I think I may have liked this one more. As is, however, I would pass on it.
Flavors: Almond, Bergamot, Cream, Malt, Nutmeg, Orange, Toast