A mild fall campfire in a cup. This is my first lapsang souchong and as such I may be unduly impressed by something that isn’t quite as remarkable as I feel it is. However, smelling this as soon as I opened the tin, I instantly recognized the smell. That campfire smoke where you’re roasting marshmallows using the pine needles, twigs, and other small bits of kindling.
The dry tea leaves are not that impressive, but, the aroma is quite potent. They’re rolled tightly and dark in color, almost black. Overall it’s very uniform in appearance, thin, small black leaves.
Steeping this the tea comes out a deep leathery red-brown color. I feel like the smoky scent is even stronger after it’s steeped. The first sip I was greeted with a wonderful woody and full-bodied taste, the aroma of the lapsang souchong filling my nose and a very light taste of pine. The second sip, playing with the taste of the tea by slurping slightly, it’s much easier to detect the pine taste and it’s washed away by a sudden rush of smoky flavor. There’s a small bit of something sweet in the taste as well. I’m not sure if the feeling on the tongue i’m detecting is astringency or not, just due to not having someone go ’that’s what astringency is’ and defining it for me; it tingles slightly on the tongue.
The wet leaves after steeping have unfurled a small bit, they’re slightly lighter in appearance, more of a dark brown than the black before steeping. They still carry the campfire aroma heavily.
A second steeping produces a slightly lighter scented tea with a much more mild color. It’s lost some of it’s strength, however, considering how strong it was in the first steep this is still very pleasant and drinkable. I’m not too certain it’d go for a third steeping.
I’d highly recommend this tea to others, especially as a first lapsang souchong just because it was my first and I found the experience pleasant. It might not be the highest quality lapsang souchong judging by some of the other tasting notes, but, if this one is good and others are better and it can only go up from here, well, that’s awesome. I’ll also note that the 4 oz tin of this was only $6.45; a hard price to beat for experimenting with a new tea.