Wow, I can’t believe that I’m the first one logging this one!
I think this tea just cemented Samovar in my mind as one of those must-order-from companies. I’m serious.
The dry leaves are beautiful and long, accented by gold tips. It’s very pretty, and looks pretty luxurious. And the smell… earthy and deep and delicious. I could stick my nose in the little container and sniff all day, and I’d be the happiest girl.
So I steeped this one up, and boy, does it brew dark. Pu-erh dark. In fact, a lot of things about this one remind me of a pu-erh, but in a wonderful, wonderful way. Almost like pu-erh and black tea made babies and out came Ancient Gold.
I had my nose stuck in the infusion almost as much as the dry leaves. It still smells deep and dark but now I’m smelling a raisin-sweet component and I’m salivating. SERIOUSLY. Salivating.
So I take the first sip, and my first thought is, “WHAT?” Another sip. “WHAT.” Again. This one is a surprise, a shocker, in a lot of ways, and so deep and complex… and WONDERFUL. My mind is all ajumble. And I keep pausing to sip this some more, because I just can’t get enough right now…
The front of the flavor is all earth. Rich, dark soil earth. Sort of like a pu-erh earth. Good, clean earth. Mmmm. Which extremely quickly gives way to malty robustness. But this is nothing like any malt I’ve ever tasted before. Normally I associate malt-type flavors with rough, rugged edges. This is almost elegant in its smoothness. Like I just plucked a street urchin off a back alley and pampered him up and presented him to the aristocracy. And it’s three years later and I can still pick him out in the crowd, but I’m SHOCKED at how different he is. Ridiculously smooth. Unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before, in my life, pretty much.
Then there’s the slow sweetness that begins to creep up, and it’s a wonderful, deep sweetness. Like molasses or raisins. More than likely raisins. It’s not really sugary, but sweet in a very dark, multi-faceted way. Not that it’s murky, but it’s a low note. Not even a cello. A bass note.
At points there’s hints of an almost peppery-Yunnan-like taste. At other points, I’m getting an almost lapsang-like smokiness. I keep concentrating with each sip, because I’m just so darned FLABBERGASTED as to how this is all going on in a cup of tea.
The weirdest thing is that I feel like I’m even tasting things with my tonsils in this tea. Yes, with my tonsils. I cannot even begin to describe this, but towards the back of my throat I’m picking out these notes of saltiness and it’s altogether bizarre. A good salty, like salted caramel (not the caramel, but that type of sweet playing with salt). And now I’m keeping my mouth open like a fish and inhaling and exhaling, trying to feel out those notes, but since I’m pretty sure I have no tastebuds on my tonsils, I doubt I’m going to be able to make anything out.
Did I mention that it’s not astringent in the least?
As the cup is cooling down, the sweetness is becoming a bit more pronounced but still very, very deep and dark. This is the tea equivalent to dark chocolate, my favorite type of chocolate.
I can’t tell you how pleasurable and sensual this tea is. I don’t want my cup to end. So savory and rich and bottomless.
Go drink it. Nowwwwww. Now. Seriously. Oh. My. Now.