The dry leaf smells of very little now, so I was half expecting the flavouring here to be past its best. WRONG! It’s delicious. The dry leaf itself looks really pretty, with its blue cornflowers and red safflowers, and the spindly, twisty leaves of the Purple Sunset Oolong. Once brewed, the leaf does smell like plum juice to me. Not strongly, but enough to be identifiable. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. I made no additions for my first cup, but I might experiment with a little crystal sugar next time. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown.
In the initial sip, I’m getting mostly plum juice. It’s a sweet and a little tart tasting, but pretty flavour accurate for actual plums. The brandy is there too, but it’s more an “impression” of brandy, rather than an actual alcoholic flavour. There’s a warming fruitiness that’s maybe a tad grapey, but it’s not as harsh or as strong (or overpowering) as brandy itself would be. Probably what I’m trying to say is it’s like brandy after the alcohol has been burnt off – as it would be if you poured some over your christmas pudding and then set it alight. I’m not getting much in the way of cheesecake, but there is a clear background creaminess. It reminds me of the “cream” in some other Butiki teas – Nutmeg Cream and Traditional Plum Pudding spring to mind. The main impression this one leaves me with is a deep, intense fruitiness. I’m guessing the base tea has a lot to do with that – I remember trying it on its own and enjoying its strong stone fruit flavours.
I would have liked more of a cheesecake flavour, but this one’s still a winner with me. The plum flavour is like no other I’ve tried – so true-to-life and juicy tasting – and the brandy/cream notes add a pleasing depth and uniqueness. I’m sad this tea is no more.