Many thanks to Indigobloom for a package of lovely teas to sample. I chose to drink this first as I have had a long and sordid past with Darjeelings, originally deeming them unworthy of drinking due to thier tendency to turn bitter and over extract, but found myself stunned by Darjeeling Ambootia and finding the error was mine, by lack of water temp, steep time and g. weight control. Once I realized this, I was won over heartily by Darjeelings and now find them to be a benchmark of craft and flavor complexity.
I was surprised that this one did not have an estate assigned to it; this usually meaning that the tea is a blend of 2nd and 3rd flush. The very fine cut of the leaf would also seem to support this.
Indigobloom was kind enough to have send 5g, which I place in a porcelian gawian and transfered to a traditional cuppers cup; using 200 degree water and almost pour directly from gawian to cup. 5 grams allowed for nearly 5 hearty steeps and while normally I would go the distance with aroma profiling, the package it came in also included a fragrant coconut oolong that dominated the other teas and I felt I wasn’t sure what aroma was carried over from that.
Upon first sip I thought perhaps the scent from the oolong had also gotton to the Darjeeling, but after 3 steeps I decided that the fruity flavor I was tasting was actually from the Darjeeling itself. The cup produces a dark caramel liquor, with champagne-golden accents. The flavor is overall very smooth, with a silken body and distinct lack of traditional muscatel, but rather this was replaced by a deep fruity character that combined with the body to have a taste almost like a Mckentosh apple. There was a lack of bitterness or astringency, but I was keeping the extractions very short, but was getting the hue I would expect, so I felt this lack of bitterness was a character of the tea. There was also a distinct lack of spicyness that I usually associate with most Darjeelings and while I missed it, I found the smooth fruity character to be quite pleasant.
The fine cut of leaf did allow for some particulate to end up in the cup, but the leaf was soft and fine and pleasant to nibble.
Many thanks to Indigobloom and I will be sending her and a few others some tea very, very soon.