I was expecting smokey tea since this has “Russian” in the name. The aroma of the dry leaves was completely lacking in smoke, but I still thought it would come out in the steeping. Not so! I don’t taste any smoke, and I had a hard time figuring out what I was tasting until I really good it a good sniff. Pepper! I have read several reviews that describe peppery tea, but hadn’t run into one myself yet. Here it is! And it was pretty good. The pepper is mostly an aroma, but perhaps whatever lends the peppery scent is what gives it the full bodied taste and muskiness, because I did think of musk melon as I drank this. Not bad! I added milk and a little sugar, but it was pretty good without additions as well. No bitterness, only a hint of astringency.