Okay, the next tea! Again, I was sceptical as soon as I saw the label.
I almost always am when I see ‘Earl Grey’ and it’s not a black base. Earl Grey is a black tea. The end. Any other base with bergamot is simply bergamot flavoured. But then that’s just personal taste, really. And honestly, it’s also splitting hairs. Yes, I’m fully capable of seeing this myself.
Now, in the past I’ve tended to have a rather rocky relationship with Earl Grey or really most anything bergamot flavoured. Often it turns into a grey, dusty, kind of floral and somewhat attic-y sort of flavour for me, although there have been a few exceptions here. The smoky Earl Grey from Kusmi being a famous example. Gosh, that one is Teh Nom!
I also, these days, have a somewhat rocky relationship with white tea. I had a period where Bai Mu Dan was what I kept on hand as Celebration Tea. These days I get mostly a funny sort of squash-y, cucumber-y flavour profile from it which I don’t really care much for in my tea.
So what we’ve actually got here so far is a tea base I don’t much care for flavoured with a fruit I’m not a fan of.
Well. Minus times minus equals plus, right?
Then there is the black currant. I’ve been fairly fond of black currant flavoured tea for as long as I can remember. That flavouring has never really let me down. On top of that there was a black currant flavoured white tea from 52teas that was extremely pleasant. So looking at it this way I’ve got something which I know to be a hit with some bergamot in it.
Actually in spite of my misgivings about bergamot in general, the idea of the bergamot and black currant combination struck me as rather appealing. I would have just felt more confident about it if it had been on a black base, I think.
Now that I’ve gone around and been ambivalent about this whole thing for a bit, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I think it sounds pleasant.
The aroma is fairly close to how I remember that black currant flavoured Bai Mu Dan smelling only with a modicum of citrus added to the mix. Well that’s good enough.
The flavour was really much the same way, only it gave me a number of funny associations. First I thought it had a somewhat floral sort of note to it, but that went away pretty quickly. Then I thought it gave me a funny sort of plastic-y association, but that note did not go away. It stayed and after a few sips I was able to pin point where it was coming from.
It’s chewing gum. Not any particular flavour or kind of chewing gum, but that sort of feeling that you get in the mouth when chewing gum. I think it has to do with how the aftertaste is highly fruity and very long, as though it’s somehow sticky and has attached itself to my tastebuds. It’s like I’ve just been eating a lot of black currant and bergamot flavoured sweets. Winegums, maybe. Something that makes the mouth sticky.
And that brings me back to the base again, because now having tasted it, I still think I would have preferred a black base. This white one seems too delicate for this massive amount of fruit, and a black base might have been able to hold it up a bit better.