Since I haven’t reviewed too many blends this month, I motivated myself to finally break out the last of this one. A blend of three Chinese black teas, The Jabberwocky has become one of Whispering Pines’ signature teas. It is a highly regarded blend with a wide following here on Steepster. I found it to more or less live up to the hype.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. I followed this infusion up with 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced interesting aromas of chocolate, honey, wood, and stone fruits. After the rinse, the honey and stone fruit aromas intensified and were joined by emerging scents of orange, toast, and malt. The first infusion produced a bouquet that saw malt and toast aromas continue to develop. In the mouth, a pleasant and robust mix of wood, brown toast, fresh bread, cream, malt, honey, orange, caramel, sweet potato, and indistinct stone fruit notes washed across the palate. Subsequent infusions produced a bouquet that was maltier, fruitier, and more honeyed. Aromas and flavors of raisin, apricot, nectarine, and peach emerged. I also began to catch hints of camphor, eucalyptus, and minerals on the finish. Later infusions were dominated by wood, malt, chocolate, brown toast, and citrus notes coupled with touches of caramel and stone fruits. The camphor, mineral, and eucalyptus notes on the finish were also amplified, producing a unique and soothing cooling effect.

This is probably one of the most complex and refined black tea blends I have ever tried. It was not quite what I was expecting (I had heard that this blend was incredibly strong, so I was expecting it to absolutely knock me for a loop), but I was far from disappointed. Though it mellowed a little quicker than I would have liked, it still had considerable staying power and a gorgeous layering of aromas and flavors. Definitely put this stuff on your wishlist if you have not yet tried it.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Brown Toast, Camphor, Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Eucalyptus, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Orange, Peach, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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