1504 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 73 of 2018 (no. 429 total).
I wrote to Leland a week ago to ask whether there is in fact lapsang souchong in this tea, or whether the description is intending to suggest blending this tea with lapsang souchong.
I hoped I’d have an answer by sipdown time, but alas, they never responded.
In any case, this tea grew on me. There was one time, last weekend, when I thought perhaps my interpretation was incorrect. I thought I might have tasted some smokiness which could mean lapsang was in the blend. But I got over it.
If they ever write back to me, I’ll let you guys know.
I got this through the Cultured Cup. The packet says it’s India black tea with vanilla and bergamot, which is interesting given the “rare citrus fruits and spices” description here.
In the packet, the smell is strongly bergamot, but in a citrusy way, not a perfumy way. I can also smell vanilla, though it is less.
After steeping, the beramot aroma is very dispersed, and the vanilla more pronounced. The tea is an interesting color: a medium-light amber/copper, which is proof (if any was necessary) that the base is darjeeling.
The sharp, piquant muscatel note that I associate with darjeelings is present, but the vanilla tamps it down nicely. Though if that’s your favorite part of a darjeeling, that’s probably not a good thing.
For me it is, as I like darjeeling flavor but don’t love the sharpness.
I don’t know whether it’s my mood, or the fact that I’ve been using zinc to stave off a cold (maybe it’s true that it does a number on your ability to smell), but my experience of this tea is good but not spectacular. It does have the expert blending of the French thing going on, which would ordinarily send me into a happy place. And it does, just not the happiest of happy places. I might have liked this better with a China black tea base.
Flavors: Bergamot, Muscatel, Vanilla
The package says to steep at 160-170F for 2 minutes. I’ll try that later, but for now I’m steeping at the Breville’s green tea setting.
The leaves of this one are long and twiggy. They’re a bit coarser and more tubular than those of the Mengding Mountain yellow buds, which were flat and shiny like dragonwell leaves.
In the packet, the leaves smell a little nutty, and also like dried hay.
Steeping at this time and temp may not be enough. I’m getting the white tea syndrome from this. Almost colorless liquor, very little aroma and flavor.
I’ll try again tomorrow using the scale instead of spoons and steeping according to the package directions. We’ll see what that does.
For now I have to rate this low because — no flavor at all, really.
Flavors: Hay, Nutty
I have had this tea before, as recently as yesterday. I’d intended to write a note about it then, but I got distracted and let the tea get cold. So I decided to give it another go this morning.
In the tin, the dry leaves smell nutty and a bit liqueur-like, with really big almond slices interspersed among the leaves. The smell is the same, but deeper, after steeping. The tea is clear, and a dark amber color.
Just as I find the variations in vanilla teas interesting (is it beany? is it creamy? is it a little of both?) I find the variations in almond teas also quite interesting. This is not a cookie or pastry flavored tea, it’s definitely a liqueur flavored tea. While I haven’t had Amaretto in a while, the aroma of the almond in this tea has a syrupy quality to it that reminds me of the drink. And while it’s not heavily alcoholic, I couldn’t find “liqueur” in the Steepster flavors and scents options, so I settled for alcohol. I don’t mean by this that this tastes of alcohol, just that it reminds me of the liqueur.
So it’s not a substitute for Brioche, which I was kind of hoping. More reminiscent of the Mariage Freres Almond than the Teavana Almond Biscotti, SpecialTeas Almond Cookie, or Brioche, which were all variations of the same idea and all, sadly, no longer available. I am pretty sure I liked the Mariage Freres better. So I’m bumping that one up a tad.
Someone make a substitute for Brioche please!
Flavors: Alcohol, Almond, Nutty
I’m a little confused. I think I had shoehorned this tea under another entry that wasn’t exactly the same tea. I think I have it straightened out now.
I steeped this according to label directions. Steeped this way, it is very second-flush like. The dry leaves are dark, but tippy, and they have a sort of a spicy smell — like a gingerbread on first whiff, but that then becomes more winey and earthy.
The liquor is really pretty. It’s the rose gold color that is popular in jewelry for the past ten or so years. Its clear, and smells of stonefruit pits. Peach, I think. And earth. And there’s that pungent wine note that characterizes second flush darjeelings, but without the sharp bite. And weirdly, that gingerbread smell is still there to some degree.
The flavor is smooth. None of the sharpness of some second flushes, but with just a hint of the fullness in some first flush darjeelings that make me feel uncomfortably overfull (what I sometimes think of as a waterlogged feeling). There’s grape in the flavor, and wood, and trees, and peach pits, and just a tiny bit of that unusual gingerbread note.
It’s a solid first flush darjeeling with the qualities I like in teas of this genre. I’d like to taste this one cold.
Flavors: Earth, Ginger, Grapes, Peach, Stonefruits, White Wine
Sipdown no. 71 (no. 427 total).
Delicious and different as a cold tea. I don’t think I’ve had a cold tea before that was in part rose flavored. I was rather expecting it to taste like a mouth full of perfume but was pleasantly surprised. While the other flavors aren’t individuated enough that I can pick them out in the cold version, but they tamp down the rose and keep it from being soapy.
Sipdown no. 70 of 2018 (no. 426 total).
Another one bites the dust in project lapsang sipdown!
I think I’m down to just a couple now besides the Samovar, the Mariage Freres and the Tea Trekker.
Of course, it’s entirely possible there are more buried among the 400+ containers still in my cupboard.
Sipdown no. 69 of 2018 (no. 425 total).
This sipdown results from several batches of this made cold — as the temperature goes up around here, I’ve been going through cold tea faster and faster.
It made a weird, but tasty, cold tea. No. 2 liked it.
One comment on the design of the The O Dor tins — that lip at the top is murder on getting the last bit of tea out of the tin without getting it all over your kitchen counter. More user testing, people!