The dry leaf smell actually reminds me of bitter chocolate. Brewed, the tea base is full bodied and slightly bitter. A faint vanilla scent, makes for a slightly sweet black tea. Tasted with no additives, the flavouring is very light but present, there is no very distinct taste of vanilla when first sipped, the vanilla is lightly present in the aftertaste, almost as a top note to the flavour of the tea base, true vanilla smell, not cloying, artificial, or sweet. I taste vanilla in the back of my mouth. The tea actually reminds me of vanilla scented dark chocolate. Makes for a nice slightly sweet flavoured tea, for those who prefer the taste of tea to be dominant in their flavoured teas and for flavourings to be used to accentate the tea base. I like the base it is strong deep and leaves a tingling on my tongue and the back of my throat like espresso. It resteeps well.