This tea has me utterly stumped. Dry, it smelled a whole lot like eggnog to me. Steeped, it smells like lemon, eggnog, and vanilla. It’s bitter and definitely needs sweetening, but I didn’t know about the milk element. To me, the presence of a lemony flavour makes milk a no-no. But the scent of this really calls for that creaminess. I added a bit of soy milk and I think it was a good choice. God, this is a really unusual tea. I’m having trouble finding anything useful to say. It’s quite heavily black, so if black tea is only palatable to you with strong added flavours, you probably won’t like this. It kind of seems to me like a very toned down relative of Kusmi’s Anastasia (less so when milk is added [or maybe that’s just me, since when I drank Anatasia I thought milk would be a bad option]) mixed with a dash of spice and a lot of vanilla. It smells very, very good both brewed and dry.
Sorry, I wish this was a more helpful review, but my main reason for drinking tea just now is that I’m in a rush for class and wanted something comforting and something that would wake me up a bit, since I don’t have time for breakfast. I have another bag of this, so I’ll be elaborating on this soon. It’s what the description would imply, basically-citrus-y, vanilla-y, black tea-y, a bit spicy. The spice is really an aroma, flavour or impression. It doesn’t provide any bite or sharpness like in chai, and the only “bite” comes from the bitterness of the tea, which I found bitter even when steeped according to the directions.I gave this another try, and found that eggnog-y smell yet again : ) Brewed, it smells and tastes absolutely nothing like that, and to me, not at all like the dry impression. I tried it without milk at first, again, because with both this and St. Petersburg, I feel like it’s hard to really get an impression of them. I tried to figure them both out last time, and this is a continuation of that aim. Without milk, I got a kind of citrus and for some reason vanilla-turkish delight-y flavour. It seemed lacking without milk as the first time I drank it, so I added a bit (really not like when you add 1/2 or 1/3 of the cup—I do mean a bit). It has a strong lemon note this way, and with the milk, it seems wrong. I only get vanilla at the end of the mouthful, so it’s mostly a black tea with lemon with an appealing vanilla aftertaste. There’s some incredibly subtle clove, as well. I had some bitterness like last time, but I did oversteep it. The aftertaste is so weird and delicious.
This was my last bag of this from the Kusmi essentials box I’ve got, so now I’m wishing I’d given it more of a go without milk. It’s not awful with it or anything, but I do get the sense without milk is the way to go. Overall, I’m not impressed. I wouldn’t buy a tin of this, but if I got another sampler or it came with something else, I’d still drink it without grudge.