Probably a shame to review this when it’s sold out. But I’ve still got a little left in my personal cupboard.
This was such an interesting tea to drink, and to look at. Most fine-pluck tippy teas have a smattering of gold tips amongst black tips. But with this one, each individual leaf has some gold and some black on it. Very careful sorting, almost all of them delicate whole buds.
Brewed this in a gaiwan, rough steeps of 15-20 seconds as I like a strong black. The cup is a deep red (the photo doesn’t do it justice, that’s much too light unless you’re intentionally trying to brew it light), and if you catch it in the light, you can see the fuzz from the leaves floating. The smell and taste is remarkably unique to me—burnt sugar and/or buckwheat honey is the best I can describe it. Very rich and sweet, with a kind of syrupy mouthfeel that lingers. Lighter steeps almost bring out a muscatel, winey note, alike but very different to any Darjeeling I’ve ever had. There are little notes of… I want to say grain or malt that verge into the ‘burnt sugar’ description.
I find this doesn’t get bitter, but it can get STRONG, due to the small size of the leaf material. Second steep really filled my mouth and nose with aroma. Wine. Fruit? Something of that sort, thick honey—it was given the name ‘honeysuckle’ at the importer-level due to that unmistakable syrupy honey flavour; I specifically wrote down ‘buckwheat honey’ in my own notes, because if anyone has ever tried THAT. It’s downright molassesy, and definitely still applies here.
The muscatel/wine notes in particular come through at the end of the sip, sort of lingering on the tongue.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Honey, Muscatel