Time to catch up on another review. The backlog is almost empty now. I ended up buying a sample pouch of this Assam a couple months ago mostly because I was not familiar with the estate that produces it. From what I have read about teas from this estate, they tend to run on the sweeter, more honeyed side, but apparently that was not the case with the teas that were produced during the 2016 harvests.
I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion process. Since I was mostly consuming this as a breakfast tea, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, no additional infusions were attempted.
After infusion, the dark copper tea liquor produced a bouquet that blended aromas of oak, hickory, and black walnut with subtler aromas of cocoa, citrus, caramel, honey, and malt. In the mouth, I picked up intense notes of burnt toast, oak, hickory, black walnut, orange rind, and leather just barely balanced by smoother malt, cream, caramel, cocoa, molasses, and wildflower honey flavors. This tea was fairly astringent to start with, but grew progressively more astringent from entry to swallow.
I did not find this Assam to be terrible, but I also did not find it to be impressive either. It served its purpose as a breakfast tea, but I could not really find many other situations for which it would be suitable. The flavor had a lot of depth and complexity, but I would have liked to see the softer, sweeter flavors more adequately balance the woodiness and bitter, oily nuttiness. All in all, this one was decent, but I have had better. Maybe 2016 was just a bad year for this particular estate.
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Oak wood, Orange, Toast, Walnut, Wood