Apropos of nothing in particular, whenever I read A&D’s full company name, I immediately think of Laraine Newman holding up a glass and saying, “Wow, that’s terrific bass!” I expect I’m the only weirdo who makes this association and I have no idea why.
Anyway, after venturing into Assam land with the Teavana Assam Gold Rain, I decided I couldn’t go farther without a visit with the legendary, incomparable Thomas Sampson. I’m always up for a challenge, so the mere fact that he’s incomparable isn’t going to stand in my way. I’m going to compare him to Assam Gold Rain just for grins.
First off, Thomas doesn’t seem to be as tippy. Though there are clearly lighter colored tips in among the leaves, the ratio of dark to light isn’t nearly as high as it is in the ASR. Thomas’ dry leaves smell better to me, though. Their smell isn’t as strong. It’s lower key, and deeper, and gives the impression of being fresher for some reason? Which is weird because I think I’ve had it longer. In any case, there’s a big difference between the way the dry leaves smell.
Thomas steeped, though, does remind me of the ASR’s aroma. It’s that anti-malty, yeasty smell, which I’m coming to realize (through a trend of two) is what Assams smell like.
But wait. How can something that smells so similar taste so different? There was something about the ASR’s taste that just plain rubbed me the wrong way. It was the yeasty thing, and it seemed sort of off to me.
Thomas, thankfully, doesn’t have that same characteristic. There’s a sweetness to Thomas that is closer to a true maltiness, and a smoothness. The ASR has a harshness that grates on me. It sits right under my sinuses and feels like it’s making the tasting equivalent of a screeching noise, like fingernails on a blackboard or a rake across cement. Thomas doesn’t even hint at harsh, at least until the swallow when he gets a little fresh and does a grab thing to my throat going down about a third of the time. But I forgive him that for what he makes up in flavor.
I’m amazed at how much more I like this than the ASR. I will give the ASR one more try on a lower temp setting before relegating it to black tea duty for chai.
Let’s end with a little of the ol’ modus ponens for those of you taking logic this semester: If Thomas is what a good Assam tastes like, then I like Assam. Thomas is what a good Assam tastes like. Therefore, I like Assam.
I have to leave it to others better versed than I am to verify the truth of the first premise, but my guess is yes. Now. What else tastes similar to Thomas? Given his limited edition status, I already have to start to worry about that.