I am steadily making progress toward my goal of finishing at least one ounce of each of Simpson & Vail’s fifteen original blends before the end of the next calendar year. I have already plowed through the Aromatic Earl Grey, Extra Aromatic Earl Grey, Russian Caravan Tea, Green & Black Mixed Tea, and Special Orange Blend. This review marks the sipdown of original blend number six.
Before I start discussing this tea proper, I feel the need to ask what exactly qualifies this blend as an Irish blend? To me, this is nothing more than a blend of straight Indian black teas with a pinch of Earl Grey added for extra aroma and flavor. When I think of Irish tea blends, I think of robust, malty teas that will keep one going all day. I do not think of a flowery blend of Indian teas with a little citrus character.
I prepared this tea using the one step Western infusion process I tend to favor for many non-Chinese black teas and black tea blends. I steeped approximately 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 3 minutes. Additional infusions were not attempted. At one point, I also tried a 4 minute infusion. I did not feel that the results differed all that radically from the 3 minute infusion, thus I will be limiting this review solely to a discussion of the 3 minute infusion.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaves produced a bright, lemony bergamot aroma. After infusion, the bergamot aroma remained, though it was also joined by subtle scents of cream, malt, and toast. In the mouth, I picked up a heavier than expected note of bergamot balanced by a delicate blend of malt, cream, toast, nutmeg, toffee, and roasted almond flavors.
This was not even close to what I was expecting, but this was still a nice little blend. It was not particularly deep or complex, but it was approachable, easy to drink, and flavorful enough to be satisfying. I found that this worked best for me as an afternoon tea. In the end, I would say that if you are looking for something like an Irish Breakfast, look elsewhere, but if you do not mind the idea of a smooth, somewhat citrusy blend for all-purpose consumption, this may do it for you.
Flavors: Almond, Bergamot, Cream, Malt, Nutmeg, Toast, Toffee