Thanks MissB for the sample!
This one has a very, very pronounced dry aroma; the leaf practically oozes with the scent of sweet, black licorice! Not licorice root or anise, mind you, but black licorice. While I have no problem with either anise or licorice root – I love black licorice and I’ve found few teas that convey it well.
That love for black licorice probably comes from my Grandpa; before he passed that was his absolute favourite self indulgent treat in the world. He kept pails of licorice allsorts by his lazy boy that he’d snack on during Blue Jays games, and he’d buy black jellybeans in bulk. And he’d sneak me these licorice candies under the kitchen table during supper or let me grab big greedy hand fulls from the buckets. It’s a really good memory I have of him from when I was a child; one of few since when I wasn’t really too old he started to get very, very crotchety and unpleasant for anyone to be around.
We found out years later when I was close to graduating highschool that he had Parkinsons as well as some other degenerative diseases, and that’s why his friendly, enthusiastic demeanor had faded so much over time. Even listening to my mom (who is the youngest of six) talk about him compared with my Aunt Nancy (the oldest) it’s obvious he was more ‘warm’ with Aunt Nancy that Mom, and more involved in Nancy’s childhood – and likely this is why.
But anyway; I know there’s not actually black licorice in the blend and it’s a trick that the fennel, combined with the aniseed, is playing on me. But I’m gonna try and be willfully blind to that; because I want this to taste like black licorice.
Steeped up, sadly, it doesn’t taste like black licorice though; not in the same way it smells like it, anyway. I do get heavy doses of both fennel and anise flavour but it’s fairly overtaken by a very savory, herbaceous note and the peppermint. It tastes very, very weird to me; and I’m wondering if that’s the ribwort leaves. I’ve never had another tea with ribwort leaves and after a very quick Google search I’ve learned that apparently they can have a mushroomy flavour. I have really, really minimal exposure to what mushrooms taste like given that I am pretty allergic to them; any time I’ve had them it’s been really involuntary and, upon realizing I’ve ingested them I’ve had much more pressing things on my mind other than the flavour.
I’m a little disappointed this isn’t as black licorice-y as I wanted it to be, but I know I was projecting unfair expectations onto the tea. It’s definitely not a bad tea; just so weird. Am I actually tasting mushrooms!?
EDIT: I forgot to mention; there was this weird aspect of this one that wasn’t taste related. It left a very thick, powdery white residue all along the inside of my mug and I can’t figure out why – I’ve never had that issue with any of the listed ingredients so unless, again, it’s from the ribwort I can’t explain it.
It was annoying though; almost as bad as gross melted down chocolate goop.
Flavors: Anise, Fennel, Herbaceous, Licorice, Mushrooms