Upton and I haven’t been getting along much at all so I wasn’t expecting great things from this sample. In fact, I was planning on disliking this tea simply because I’m to the point where I just don’t like Upton. (Yes, I’m sulking about their general meh-ness and disappointing-ness. And I have no current plans to stop.) But, dangit, as much as I want to, I can’t dislike this tea. It’s good. Really good.
The smell is strong but not overly thick – it’s all campfires, bark and crispy fall with no road tar or thick smoke syrup to be found. The taste initially seemed a little watery, which fell into my general “I don’t like Upton” plans. I don’t know if the flavor thickened up a bit as it cooled or if the flavor built upon itself as I continued to sip, but I that watery impression didn’t stay around for long. Instead, the taste is smoky but not overpowering or heavy. There’s a hint of sweet that flashes across my tongue every so often but I wouldn’t go so far to say it is a sweet lapsang. There is a taste at the end of the sip that’s a little warm and almost spicy. It blends with the bark-ish tea taste and brings to mind cinnamon. Not so much that it tastes of cinnamon, but rather gives a feel of cinnamon. It makes me think of unsweetened Snickerdoodles.
I’d say this tea compares pretty closely with Golden Moon’s lapsang, though I haven’t had that one recently enough to do much of a true comparison. I don’t believe this one is as sweet and it registers perhaps a little more on the autumn side of things. Regardless, it’s annoyingly tasty. Which means I can’t just dislike Upton across the board. Apparently, they do some teas right. Darn it.