I knew for a fact that I wanted LS when I woke up this morning. I naturally reached for my standard LS from AC Perch’s, but then remembered that there was at least one LS sample included in the huge box I received recently from Pamela Dax Dean so I dug that one out instead.
I was drinking it while I waited for the computer to finish a boatload of updates to the operating system, so while I had lots of time to pay attention to it, I didn’t make any notes (Pen and paper? How low tech and old fashioned!) so I’m working just by memory here. Cup’s empty now, see.
At the first few sips the smoky notes were very very strong, almost to the point of being tarry, and they overpowered any other notes there may have been to the flavour.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of smoky teas, be they actually smoked or merely pseudo-smoky by nature, and I like it when the smoke note is strong. I do, however, prefer that in a strongly smoky tea other characteristics of the flavour are equally strong so that you don’t just end up feeling like you’re standing in a smokefilled room with your mouth full of water. Many LSs have a very sweet fruity note underneath the smoke that adds dimension and contrast to the smoke. It’s the relationship between that note and the smoke note that I’m actually looking for in an LS. (Tip: I’ve found that this fruity note is often, but not always, really coming out nicely if one uses water just below boiling rather than at a full boil) I still distinctly remember my reaction the first time I really found that sweet note in LS, and the many attempts afterwards it took to figure out what I had done to bring it out like that. Look through my posts on LS from AC Perchs if you want to see that for yourself.
Anyway, in the first few sips of this one all I got was the smoke. Lots of glorious prickly smoke, but none of the sweetness and fruityness underneath. Disappointing. It was like just getting half a flavour profile. Oh well, I thought. They can’t all be equally good, can they? It was still fulfilling the particular needs I had this morning that made me go for LS in particular. So I drank it and thought about how it wasn’t really the best LS I had ever had.
Then as it cooled a bit, however, the smoke note eased out, and the tea because incredibly smooth. Almost thick and creamy in texture and with the smoke note now only playing a supporting part. It was almost a little too thick and a little too creamy the more it cooled off, and by the time I was reaching the bottom of the cup and the tea was little more than lukewarm, it tasted like there was actually cream in it. Which there wasn’t as I almost never add anything to my tea, and if I did, I would clearly state having done so.
I have to say though that the sweet, fruity note that I mentioned before, never truly made an appearance. I found hints of it, but nothing definite and that in itself is a little disappointing to me. It’s definitely not the best LS I’ve ever had, but I wouldn’t say it’s not a good tea. It is quite nice and quite pleasant, but for an LS it doesn’t have the particular qualities that I look for. It certainly can’t beat my standard LS from AC Perch’s.