This is a review I have been dreading. To be honest, I had a lot of difficulty working with this tea. Unfortunately, I was never able to get to a point where I was happy with my brewing method and my approach to reviewing it. The only impression I can confidently offer is that this struck me as kind of an odd tea.
I prepared this tea several different ways, but as mentioned above, never got to a point where I was satisfied with my results. For the purposes of this review, I will simply detail the results of the brewing method that worked best for me. I steeped 1 rather heaping teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 205 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted mild lemony, herbal aromas with a hint of nuttiness. After infusion, the golden tea liquor emitted intriguing, yet very subtle aromas of grilled lemon, Muscat grape, malt, toast, almond, and oddly enough, peanut brittle. In the mouth, I initially detected notes of grilled lemon, almond, toast, malt, cream, and honey roasted peanuts. I was disappointed because I was really hoping the aroma of peanut brittle would ensure the delivery of a comparable flavor, but unfortunately, it did not. Further inspection revealed more distant notes of lemongrass and nutmeg, but that was all I was able to find.
Compared to the other first flush Darjeelings I have tried over the course of the last year, this one was an odd bird. It was very awkward and came off as being too timid, yet it had a few redeeming qualities. I actually enjoyed its lemony character. The pronounced nuttiness was kind of appealing too. I just wish it were a little more complex, a little more robust, and that it displayed a crisper, clearer Muscat presence. I would cautiously recommend that others try it. I, however, would not be surprised if it divides opinion or confounds on some level.
Flavors: Almond, Cream, Lemon, Lemongrass, Malt, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Peanut, Toast